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PHS and Taconic Evacuated Due to Floor Refinishing Fumes
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
02:35PM / Friday, November 18, 2022
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Students and staff got an early start to their weekend when both of the city's high schools were evacuated on Friday due to floor varnish fumes.

Contractors were supposed to refinish Pittsfield and Taconic high schools' gym floors while school was not in session but, instead, began during the school day.

"The Pittsfield High and Taconic High School gym floor was scheduled to be refinished while the school was NOT in session. Unfortunately, the contractors proceeded to start the project while school was still in session," the district posted on Facebook around 11 a.m.

"As a result, we will need to dismiss all students and staff as soon as possible as the fumes have become overwhelming for some."

Taconic and PHS staff began immediately contacting families to determine whether their child will be walking home, picked up, or taken home by a bus. Dismissal began around 11:30 am for both high school students.

The contractors hired for the job were not named.

Superintendent Joseph Curtis said there would be an investigation of why the floors were being done during school hours in an apology posted to families in staff.
"Evidently doing this has been past practice, which in my opinion is not acceptable," he wrote. "I assure each one of you that this will never happen again in one of the Pittsfield Public Schools."
He said the buildings were expected to reopen Monday after a weekend of being aired out. If not, families would be notified on Sunday evening. 
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