Taloyoak school reopens 10 weeks after fuel spill
Diesel spill shuttered Netsilik School on Feb. 7
Netsilik School in Taloyoak has reopened after a fuel spill forced it to close for 10 weeks.
The kindergarten through Grade 12 school welcomed most students back on Monday, Department of Education spokesperson Krista Amey said in an email.
It closed Feb. 7 after an approximately 90-litre diesel spill was discovered inside.
The spill happened during an automatic transfer of fuel from an exterior tank to one in the boiler room, said Amey.
One week later, on Feb. 13, fuel was detected in a secondary air handling unit, which had soaked the insulation.
An environmental consultant visited the school on Feb. 15 and 16 to assess the extent of the fuel spill and complete an air quality sampling test, Amey said.
Contractors took several weeks to clean the site, using materials to absorb the fuel and fans to remove the strong smell.
Following a March 31 site visit, a partition wall with a vapour barrier was installed between the affected area and the remainder of the school, Amey said.
“This allowed the school to reopen while the work continues to air out and remediate the front entrance area,” she said.
Additional air scrubber machines will be placed around the school, and there will be more frequent airing out of the school.
The school was allowed to reopen to most students after an April 11 assessment concluded the vapour barrier is effective.
The kindergarten through Grade 9 students have all returned to Netsilik School for in-person instruction but due to the vapour barrier’s location, two high school classes are still operating out of Nunavut Arctic College.
Amey said staff and students are using community entrance doors which lead to the gym for the time being, instead of the front doors, due to the location of the affected area.
While the school building was closed, students had classes in community spaces like the hamlet community complex, the pre-school building, the Elders’ Palace, the Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. office and at Nunavut Arctic College.