WATERLOO -- Lowell Elementary staff and students will have another day off from classes after heavy snow Wednesday caused part of the school's roof to collapse.

"A portion of the roof in one of the classrooms did buckle under the weight of last night's snow," Jane Lindaman, Waterloo Community Schools superintendent,  said Wednesday afternoon. "There will be no school (Thursday) as we assess the damage."

She added, "It happened earlier this morning. The custodian crew was there."

School was cancelled across the district Wednesday because of the snowfall, so no other staff and no students were in the building.

"No one was injured, and we're working to clean it up," said Lindaman. "Architects and engineers are looking to determine how to best repair the damage."

She said district officials will know more Thursday about whether school can be held in the building Friday.

"It is a significant issue. We're going to just play it by ear, day by day," said Lindaman.

Maintenance staff watches for such potential problems with roofs at all district buildings. That's been particularly important during a record snowy winter.

"We definitely were monitoring and removing snow as we needed to," said Lindaman. The situation has been addressed today at the other buildings. "It certainly came heavier and there was plenty of it."

She expected classes to be held at all other district schools on Thursday, but with another day cancelled Wednesday officials are again reassessing calendars for the entire district. They will also take a special look at Lowell's situation due to Thursday's cancellation.

District officials have some flexibility because the school year is based on 1,080 instructional hours rather than a set number of days.

"We'll assess the situation to determine the number of lost hours," said Lindaman. "We will work to ensure the minimum hours are met."

As of Wednesday, the district had cancelled eight school days and had three late starts. Prior to Wednesday's cancellation, school had already been extended to Friday, June 7.

She added that officials are "committed to looking at alternatives to making up the time instead of going into the next week."


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