The state fire marshal has shut down four elementary schools in the Rochester (Mich.) district for two days because kindergarten and first-grade classrooms are not on the lower level of the buildings.
"In order to enable us to comply with this state mandate and safely relocate the classes, there will be no school at Hugger, Musson, Brewster, and University Hills Elementary Schools on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 13-14," Superintendent Robert Shaner says in a letter on the district's web site.
The changes will involve 50 classrooms—25 kindergarten and first-grade rooms, and 25 upper elementary rooms that will swap spaces.
Shaner says the four schools were built between 1972 and 1988 and were designed specifically for lower elementary classrooms to be situated on the second level of the building.
In discussing plans last year for a bond issue to upgrade school facilities, district administrators were aware of code changes, but believed they did not have to address them immediately.
"It was our understanding these buildings were considered to be grandfathered until bond renovations were complete," Shaner says.
But in a subsequent inspection by the state fire marshal, "the issue was identified as a concern requiring immediate reconciliation." the superintendent said.
For the two days that the four schools are closed, Rochester is helping families with child care needs by offering non-instructional day camps—in areas of the buildings not affected by the classroom moves.
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