Parents say they didn't know school was closed

Cunningham Elementary School in Pawtucket was closed Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, because of problems with the heating system.

Cunningham Elementary School in Pawtucket was without heat Tuesday for the second time in the recent months.

The superintendent made the call early in the morning when custodians realized the heat was not maintaining much above 60 degrees, which they deemed would not be a comfortable learning environment for students or staff.

But despite the automated calls that the superintendent maintains went out, some parents told NBC 10 News that they were not aware of the school closure.

"Well, it bothers us. We got ready. We drove from Providence to get the grandchild, and we get here and there's no school," said the grandparents of one student.

Others said they were frustrated with the lack of communication, but on a day with no snow or ice it’s not what parents are looking for.

The superintendent told NBC 10 that the school district is trying to make Cunningham's heating system more reliable.

She also said the unexpected closure proves why it's so important for parents and guardians to update any changes in their contact information so they receive phone calls about cancellations.

Mayor Don Grebien also commented on the closure in a statement:

"We thank the parents, families and teachers at Cunningham for their support and understanding after school had to be cancelled this morning. Any decision to lose precious learning time is a difficult one, but the School Department had to ensure that students would be in a safe and warm environment. They have been and continue to work on the issue and monitor the situation throughout the day and into the night.
"(Sixty) percent of Pawtucket's school buildings are over 50 years old. We are making critical investments in our school across the district, with the help of $56 million in voter-approved bonds. However, we have more work to do and need more funds to chip away at the long neglected issues, like the one-hundred-year-old boiler at Cunningham. We will continue to work closely with and support the School Department and School Committee as they work to modernize all of our community schools."

A spokeswoman said the school is expected to be open on Wednesday.

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