First full week of school canceled in Valliant due to bacteria in city’s water supply

Texarkana News

VALLIANT, Okla. (KTAL/KMSS) – Water woes continue in southeast Oklahoma where bacteria found in a city water supply has prompted a boil order, and put the school year on-hold.

The 2019-2020 school year officially kicked off in Valliant last week, but now the district looks more like summer break with buses parked and halls dark.

“It’s an easy call,” said Superintendent Craig Wall. “If it’s about the safety of our children, we’re always going to make a decision that errs on the side of caution where that’s concerned.”

Wall made the decision to close campuses afer E. coli bacteria was found in the city’s water supply. The town’s on a boil order, but wall said it’s not feasible to boil enough water to support school operations.

“When you’re talking about 11-hundred people and trying to serve lunches in the cafeteria and wash hands after every little child goes to the bathroom… that becomes a lot more difficult problem,” said Wall.

Wall said the city is working with the Department of Environmental Quality to determine the source of the problem and ensure the water supply is clean. But, after days of delays, Wall is eager to get the school year going.

“We can only wait so long,” Wall said. “Children need to be in school. They need to be learning.”

Wall said he’s reaching out to agencies like the Red Cross to secure resources for water supplies to get kids back to class regardless of the city’s situation.

“It’s a little frustrating on my end,” said Wall, “because I’d like for the kids to be here. And I’m sure parents and everybody else – children, too – are probably starting to sense this frustration.”

But, some students are enjoying the extra break from studies.

“I guess we just all kinda hang out together and everything,” said Koby McCarty, 11th grade student. “It’s great for me, I like it.”

Administrators hope to have students back in class next week. They said they hope to be able to post an update on their Facebook page by Thursday evening.

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