Cedar Falls school dealing with another smelly situation - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Falls school dealing with another smelly situation

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

A Cedar Falls school is once again dealing with a smelly situation.  Last April, four classrooms at Orchard Hill Elementary were vacated after a strong odor caused students and staff to become sick.  That smell was traced to a chemical used to remove tiles during a remodeling project.  The stench later disappeared after construction was completed. 

But now, a smell has returned to Orchard Hill.  This time, the smell is coming from just one fifth grade classroom.  Right now, Orchard Hill is trying to determine where the odor is coming from and how to get rid of it.

The fifth grade classroom is closed off to all students and staff at Orchard Hill Elementary.  The room started to have a foul smell last week that just wouldn't go away.      

"It wasn't consistent like last year.  Last year it was a pretty constant odor.  This year it would weaken, then get stronger again. So we left it up to the teacher to take the class into the library," said Kim Cross, Orchard Hill Principal.

The smell became problematic enough, the school decided to close off the classroom, which experienced the bad smell last year too, and keep kids in the library until a solution is found.

"We just decided that if it was really starting to irritate people, we need to have kids out of there and teachers out of there," Cross said.

What's strange is the remodeling project blamed for last year's foul odor is done now.  And students have been using all four of those classrooms with no problems for several months.  So the school is trying to figure out the source of the latest stench in order to eliminate it.

"We have run air quality tests again this year.  And once we get those results, that will let us know what we need to do or if the results even indicate that.  Sometimes they really indicate it's within the acceptable range," Cross said.

The test results should come in yet this week, hopefully providing answers to the mystery smell so students can return to their classroom. 

Principal Cross says it's disappointing to be facing this problem again this year, since now it means that a beautifully remodeled classroom is unusable. 

And because it's cold and flu season, lots of students have been sick.  So the school isn't sure if any of the illnesses going around are directly tied to students being exposed to the bad smell.

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