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UPDATE: Broken boiler changes schedule for Morris Area six through 12 students

The Polar Vortex broke a boiler in Morris Area High School which means a modified school schedule for students in grades six through 12, superintendent Rick Lahn said.

The extreme cold of the past week took its toll on the old boiler which cannot be fixed, Lahn said.

Morris Area Elementary students will not be impacted by the broken boiler, Lahn said. Pre-K through grade five students will attend school as usual on Friday, Feb. 1 and in the following week.

However, students in grades six through 12 will not be at school and there will be no eLearning on Friday, Feb. 1. Since eLearning has been used this past week, Feb. 1, will be a day for students to catch up on work and a teacher planning day, Lahn said.  Governor Tim Walz said today, Jan. 31, that schools would not be penalized for lost instruction time because of weather this past week. Lahn said the school is allowed five eLearning days and Walz's announcement means the district has more eLearning days it can use.

The broken boiler leaves one old outdated boiler at the high school that can't heat the building above 50 to 55 degrees, Lahn said. It will take at least several days before a new boiler is fully installed, Lahn said.

Lahn said the modified schedule for students in grades six through 12 includes sixth-grade students being shifted into the elementary building on Monday, Feb. 4.

Students in grades seven through 12 will not be in school Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 5, and possibly for the remainder of next week, Lahn said. The school will use eLearning to conduct classes next week.

The school will evaulate the schedule for the remainder of next week on Feb. 5, he said.

Lahn said activities director Mark Ekren was working on a plan for extracurricular activities. The school will be a host for basketball games on Friday, Feb. 1, as planned, Lahn said.

As of the afternoon of Jan. 31, the new boiler was on its way to Morris from Chicago, Illinois, but it will take several days to install it and heat the building, Lahn said.

The district is in the midst of a $19 million renovation which included removing the two old high school boilers and not replacing them. The district planned to use the elementary boilers to heat both buildings.