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Henrico High to remain closed for students Friday

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — Henrico High School will remain closed for students again on Friday, Nov. 21, due to the power outage that occurred on Tuesday.

So far there is no discussion about calling “make up days” as a result of t his outage, said Henrico Schools spokesman Andy Jenks. “But to be clear, if for some reason we lose weeks of instructional time during the winter then we may have to re-evaluate our instructional hours.”

Jenks made the announcement Thursday evening and sent the following email to parents: made the announcement Thursday evening and sent the following email to parents:

“Unfortunately, we are writing to inform you that Henrico High School will again be closed for students on Friday, November 21. However, all teachers and staff shall report on time. Staff will again report to the areas of campus that do have power.

We apologize for the continued inconvenience, however the safety of our students, staff and visitors to campus is our top priority. We want to thank the school community for the tremendous patience it has shown during this unexpected time.”

You deserve to know more about what is going on.

On Tuesday, at approximately 10:30 a.m., a construction worker at the renovation site struck a live circuit. As a result, the main 1200 amp panel that supplies power to most of the campus was destroyed. Most of the campus lost electricity and heat, and we dismissed students early that day.

The 1200 amp panel is not an “off the shelf” item. Ordinarily, it requires several weeks to order, assemble, transport, and install. Locating a replacement panel in a timely manner has been challenging.

On Wednesday, a used panel from Danville was delivered to the site as a potential replacement. That day, work began to remove the destroyed unit and install the used replacement.

Also on Wednesday, the contractor communicated with design engineers and building inspectors who would need to approve the replacement panel prior to the power being turned back on. After a lengthy discussion, it was discovered that the necessary approvals could not be obtained in time to restore the electricity and open school for students the next day.

On Thursday, we continued to wait for the necessary approvals but our contractor was unsuccessful in securing a certification. We were not going to jeopardize the safety of our students by allowing them on campus without the panel being properly certified. So, we were back to square one.

Also on Thursday, while these efforts were taking place, our contractor worked on a backup plan to obtain a brand new panel. A custom-made panel was located in North Carolina. At this time, that brand new panel is being transported to Henrico High School. Because it is brand new, it does not require the same certification as the used panel. We expect that it will be successfully installed prior to Monday.

To repeat, Henrico High School will again be closed for students on Friday, November 21. However, all teachers and staff shall report on time. Staff will again report to the areas of campus that do have power.

We realize this has been a frustrating experience for many people. Thank you again for your patience and understanding.”

The power outage occurred when a contractor working on the renovation struck a line that feeds into an electrical panel, Jenks explained.

Henrico High School students were dismissed at 1 p.m. Tuesday after the power outage knocked out heat, phone and internet access to the high school.