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Students won’t return to Clements Jr. High this year due to power issue

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. -- The Prince George County Schools system has released details about a power outage reported at N. B. Clements Junior High School that has kept the school closed Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

"[Clement] continues to be closed due to a malfunction in its electrical system. Our electricians, Prince Electric Cooperative engineer, and the engineer from Preventive Measures, the company that installed the system over 20 years ago, have identified the problem," the school system posted on Facebook. "Two major parts, one that brings current into the building and the mechanism that protects against power surges, are not functioning. They have determined, and the Prince George School Board agrees, that there is no temporary solution."

The school system said, for safety reasons, the fix would be to replace the Switch Gear System.

"Unfortunately, it will take Preventive Measures at least three weeks to build the replacement and to install it," the spokesperson continued. "Staff is in the process of developing a plan for students and staff. Details of the plan will be communicated to our families."

Superintendent Renee Williams estimated the fix would cost the school system about $50,000.

Several parents reached out to CBS 6 concerned about the lack of information from the school system when they received the initial calls announcing classes were closed.

"The parents of NB Clements students really just want answers. We feel like we are being left in the dark about this matter and that is starting all kinds of rumors to spread on social media sites," said Kim Garner, a concerned parent. "We aren't being given a projection of when our children will even be able to return to school. They are missing much anticipated field trips and it's very hard to see your children disappointed after working so hard all year long. The day to day recorded calls letting us know the school will be closed for the next day are getting aggravating."

Williams stated the cause of the system malfunctions is unknown.

"I want parents to know that, of course, our ultimate goal and anything we do is for the safety sake. Right now, Clement, as the way it is now, is not safe. Just be patient and we're trying to resolve the problem," Williams explained.

Prince George School administrators were meeting at noon Thursday to work out where to house the students and staff for the remainder of the school year.

About 900 eighth and ninth grade students attend the school. The last day of school is scheduled for June 15.

This is a developing story. N. B. Clements Junior High School families, teachers, and staff can send news tips here.