All clear given to students and teachers of 2 Clovis schools after mercury scare

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Thousands of students went back to school Tuesday after classes were canceled last Friday because a student brought about two ounces mercury on campus, according to officials. (KFSN)

Thousands of students went back to school Tuesday after classes were canceled last Friday because a student brought about two ounces mercury on campus, according to officials.

Students at Reyburn Intermediate and Clovis East High School got a four day weekend because extensive cleanup was underway to make sure no residue was left behind.

On Tuesday morning many were talking about the mercury incident.

David Black has a son and daughter who attend Reyburn. He said, like most parents, hearing about mercury on campus caught him off guard.

"I got text, and voice and an email which was great by the Clovis Unified School District," Black said. "At first I pulled it up and started reading through it and I said 'Wait a second - mercury, whoa! What's going on?' Then they were real good updating that there was no school on Friday and they were going to bring in and start doing a hazmat team and start cleaning it up".

Kelly Avants, the Chief Communication Officer for the district, said that over the weekend crews were busy cleaning and ensuring each classroom was safe.

"We still have representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency and Fresno County Public Health Department are still on campus just wrapping up their work probably be done today or in the next few days, that's really work out in the community and going back to the source issue," said.

The Fresno County Department of Public Health, the Environmental Protection Agency as well as PARC Environmental gave the all clear for classes to resume on Tuesday.

Three classrooms needed new carpet and so far only one room's carpet has been replaced.

Avants explained those rooms should have new carpet in the coming weeks.

Black said he's glad the district took action.

"Well as long as they researched it and identified some mercury in there then whatever they got to do to make sure the kids are safe and the teachers are safe I'm for it," Black explained.

Avants explained that those involved will not be sitting in detention.

"Every indication in our research at this point and talking with the students involved, this was not intentional. So we are not looking to discipline at all. It's really just a matter of taking care of education and educating the students on what it was they were handling and the mitigation work to clean up," she said.

Avants explained that the student got the mercury from someone out of the county.

The Kings County Public Health Department said late last year Environmental Health Officers recovered a small bottle of mercury from a house in Hanford and it is possible the liquid metal was shared with middle school-aged kids.

This week at the school board's meeting they plan on passing an Emergency Resolution for the decisions that had to be made to get the school open in a timely matter.

"Our board will be taking some action on an Emergency Resolution Wednesday that allows us to do what needed to be done and not worry exactly about those bills until we are finished with the work," she explained.

Avants added she is glad they were able to track the source down and are able to educate the students.
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