Frozen Pipes Plague North Texas Schools

by Robbie Owens | CBS 11

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The bitter cold that accompanied two winter storms finally loosening its icy grip.

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And yet, across North Texas the warming temperatures reveal the extent of damage already done in homes and schools.

“We are seeing issues,” says David Bates, Dallas ISD’s Assistant Superintendent Operations. “Since the power has been out for so many hours at a campus, sprinkler pipes freeze and they burst and then we have to start the mitigation process, and as we plug in our equipment to clean, the power will go off again, and it’s just been a bit of a nightmare.”

Arlington ISD is reporting some 21 schools and two administration buildings have been damaged and the concern heading into the weekend is that there could be more.

“In some buildings, the flooding is pretty contained and we can bring it back within a period of time,” explains Arlington ISD’s Supt. Marcelo Cavazos, “other building’s there’s much more significant flooding. Some of our boilers have been compromised, [that’s] not only expensive, but does take time.”

In Wiley, Supt. David Vinson took to Facebook to both reassure and warn.

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“Here’s the thing,” explained Vinson while standing in a flooded room, “I’m at Dodd Elementary and we’re gonna be experiencing a lot of this: pipes bursting. This is the third or fourth campus right now we are dealing with.”

Both Arlington and Dallas school leaders say district staffers will continue to check buildings throughout the weekend before determining how and when classes will resume.

“I can tell you today that there are some buildings that we do not anticipate being able to be operational for Monday, ” says Supt. Cavazos. And yet he says AISD leaders are keenly aware that the families and staffers are dealing with similar struggles in the aftermath of the storms.

“So even to expect virtual instruction in some cases– while it sounds like that can be done– when you have to boil water, when you have to wait for power, unstable internet, those things compound very quickly,” says Cavazos.

Throughout the area, school staffers are working as quickly as safely as they can, while promising to update parents when they know more.

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“Our essential employees, we’ve been through a lot!” says DISD’s Asst. Supt. Bates. “We’ve taken care of a tornado, we’ve taken care of COVID-19, and I’m really proud of DISD essential employee staff. We’ll take care of this as well.”

CBS Dallas / Fort Worth