UHS students sent home early due to strange odor in the building

MORGANTOWN — Day two of the academic year in Monongalia County merited an unexpected early dismissal for some high school students.

Wednesday morning, students at University High School were evacuated from the building off Bakers Ridge Road due to reports of an odor, which was reported as smelling like gas.

Donna Talerico, assistant superintendent of Monongalia County Schools, said the UHS principal reported of the odor came to the board of education.

“Obviously we began to check that out, and our maintenance department was right on the spot within the first 15 minutes and we were trying to determine the odor and the source of it,” she said.

Talerico said it is believed to be traced to the former home economics classroom, which is undergoing renovations.

School maintenance crews and Mountaineer Gas worked Tuesday to determine how to address it.

“In the meantime, of course, the first thing we did is evacuate the building following our normal protocol. It’s the same as we would have a fire drill, we would evacuate the building,” she said.

Students were evacuated from the building between 10-10:30 a.m. School was dismissed at 11:30, following an alert to parents shortly before 11.

The school superintendent’s office decided that because it might take some time to remedy the situation, classes would be dismissed.

“We want to make sure every child, of course, is safely home,” Talerico said.

Talerico said it wasn’t yet known if a gas line was broken and causing the odor.

She said they surmise that ongoing renovations to the room are somehow connected to the leak.

Talerico said they expected school to re-open today.

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