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State allowing 25 schools in RI to close short of 180 days

Cranston High School East was one of three public high schools in Rhode Island closed on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, because of burst pipes. (WJAR photo)

The Rhode Island Department of Education is allowing 25 public schools in the state to close short of the 180-day requirement this academic year.

The state granted waivers for 25 individual schools in about a dozen districts. They are being allowed to close one or two days short of 180 days because of cancellations caused by power failures or burst water lines over the winter.

“We’ve had schools all across the state that have shut down because their facilities are substandard,” Education Commissioner Dr. Ken Wagner told NBC 10 News.

Edgewood Highland Elementary School in Cranston applied for a three-day exemption and is waiting to find out if it will receive a waiver.

Earlier this year, the school was closed for more than a month after a water main ruptured outside of the school, sending four feet of water gushing into several classrooms.

“The water was so strong that it actually broke down metal doors,” Wagner said. “Someone could have been killed. The teachers were amazing and they got the kids out safely.”

Central Falls High School was granted a two-day waiver. The school flooded days before classes were scheduled to begin in August, which postponed the start of classes.

RIDE said Woonsocket and Exeter-West Greenwich asked for district-wide waivers, but they were denied. Fourteen other requests are pending.

“Typically, we only give those waivers if it's an individual school, not the whole district, and typically it's because something went wrong with the facility- a pipe broke, the heating system shut down and the school would be unsafe for that day,” Wagner said.

According to RIDE, the schools granted waivers are:

Barrington: Hampden Meadows Elementary

Barrington: Sowams Elementary

Central Falls: Central Falls High School

Chariho: Ashaway Elementary

Cranston: Cranston High School East

Cumberland: Blackstone Valley Prep High School

Cumberland: Community Elementary

Johnston: Thornton Elementary

Johnston: Brown Avenue Elementary

Narragansett: Narragansett Elementary

North Smithfield: North Smithfield Elementary

Providence: Pleasant View Elementary

Providence: George J. West Elementary

Providence: Vartan Gregorian Elementary

Providence: Rhode Island School for the Deaf

Scituate: Clayville Elementary

Scituate: North Scituate Elementary

Scituate: Hope Elementary

Smithfield: Old Country Road Elementary

Warwick: Warwick Area Career and Technical Center

Warwick: Toll Gate High School

Warwick: Winman Junior High School

Warwick: Drum Rock Early Learning Center

West Warwick: West Warwick Middle School

West Warwick: West Warwick High School

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