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Renovations may have caused HazMat situation at Bay View Middle School, district says

Some students reported nausea or feeling faint late Friday morning. A HazMat search didn't find a source.
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 12:01 PM CDT|Updated: May. 20, 2022 at 5:32 PM CDT
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HOWARD, Wis. (WBAY) - The Howard-Suamico School District says a renovation project may have caused a HazMat situation that led to the evacuation of Bay View Middle School late Friday morning. The superintendent tells Action 2 News the incident is still being investigated.

An hours-long search of Bay View Middle School found no reason for an odor that led to students reporting feeling ill, a fire department battalion chief says.

The school district says an odor was reported to staff at about 11 a.m. Friday. Two students reported nausea and feeling faint, and the school was evacuated out of an “abundance of caution.”

Battalion Chief Steve DeValk said the rescue call reported people having difficulty breathing, asthma issues, even fainting. “There is no one thing,” he said, describing the effects.

One student was taken to a hospital by their parent. The rest of the students were bused to Green Bay Community Church at 600 Cardinal Lane where parents could pick up their children. We saw more than a dozen school buses there.

“Communicated with our parents during the interim, and parents were able to come here for an early pick-up beginning at 1 p.m.,” Howard-Suamico School District Superintendent Damian LaCroix said Friday afternoon. “Staff responded great, community partners responded great. An unfortunate situation. We got a renovation project underway at Bay View. I’ve got to do some more checking today to see if I’ve identified the source of the issue.”

DeValk said crews went into the school to search for a gas leak. A hazardous materials team, with more specialized equipment, was called in. He said their monitors, which can detect multiple gases, turned up nothing.

Lacroix said parents can come to Bay View on Saturday between 9 and 11 A.M. to pick up their students’ backpacks, jackets and other belongings.

A letter to parents shared with Action 2 News says classes will resume normally on Monday after a thorough inspection by emergency response agencies.

“Our kids are incredibly resilient,” LaCroix said, “and circumstances like this, obviously there’s some nervous energy and some anxiousness, so it’s going to be important for us to communicate with our families and with our students between now and Monday, let them know we have resources on hand to support them.”

A HazMat team didn't find the source of the odor blamed for breathing problems and fainting
Students were bused to a church to be picked up by their parents

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