Hooper Bay School Reopens Following Flooding Damage

Feb 10, 2020

Hooper Bay, Alaska
Credit Flickr Creative Commons

Hooper Bay students returned to school last week for the first time since December. A pipe burst in the school during winter break, flooding the building, wreaking havoc, and delaying the spring semester. 

Classes resumed last Monday, Feb. 3, and Hooper Bay School Principal David Harris says that it feels good to be back.

“The kids are excited to be here; we’re excited to have them back. The parents are probably excited they’re here too,” he said, laughing.

Returning to school after weeks away gave an unusual feeling to the cold winter.

“It kinda felt like the first day back after summer break. The kids have been out for a month and a half,” Harris said.

Everyone had been away for so long that staff and students needed what Harris called “gentle reminders” to get back into the school routine.

“Going over classrooms rules, bathroom procedures, raise your hand to ask a question,” Harris said.

During the break, staff tore out rotten drywall and soaked carpet that had been damaged by the flooding, and they completed other basic repairs to open the school. The work took a week longer than initially planned, and further construction will continue during the summer. Students missed a total of 18 days. Principal Harris is putting together a schedule to make up that time.

“I’ve come up with a couple different ideas. We would have extended days, we’ll probably have a couple different Saturday sessions, and we would end our school year as we planned to on May 14,” he said.

It’s a hard deadline. Students are needed at home for subsistence activities; teachers have already purchased plane tickets out of town for the summer.

The school opened in time to host its biggest basketball tournament of the season. The Bering Sea Classic began on Thursday, Feb. 6.