Open Letter from Dr. Karen Gray to Staff and Parents of CVH

Open Letter from Dr. Karen Gray to Staff and Parents of CVH

Posted on February 12, 2019

February 12, 2019

Dear Parents and Staff of Crestview Heights Elementary School,

Thank you very much to the 30+ individuals that met with the district last night at 7 pm at Crestview Heights Elementary School to discuss the boiler misfire event. As promised, we have attached the final report from PBS Engineering and Environmental Inc. completed at CVH on Friday, Feb 8.


At Lincoln County School District we sincerely try to do the very best for our children, families, and staff while demonstrating as much transparency and timely communication as we can warrant. It is clear to me that while we know that we communicated about this issue in several ways it was not enough nor did it include all the right information. As pointed out last night by a staff member/parent, in our community, as much communication as possible is required or else people will naturally fill in any blanks which has clearly happened. I will endeavor for that never to happen again.

Whenever a situation arises that requires us to use our judgment to balance our decision whether or not to close a school, we rely on our in-house experts, outside experts (such as the Fire Chief, Captain, and Third Party Consultants), and district emergency and communication protocols. Regardless, the ultimate decision to close a school lies with me, the Superintendent. In this particular incident, in retrospect, I should have closed the school for two days on Monday and Tuesday. We opened the school on Wednesday because the fire department told us it was 100% safe. We should have made the notifications sooner in the day, rather than at night. That was our fault and we apologize. We sincerely apologize for any additional stress this caused our staff, students and families and for any possible related headaches or symptoms that were linked to this misfire of our furnace. We should have sent out a note to all staff and parents on Monday regarding those symptoms but we didn’t. We apologize for that lack of communication to parents and staff. The treatment for the effects of carbon monoxide is breathing oxygen. Once the school was checked by the fire department on Tuesday and cleared for occupancy, symptoms would have dissipated. Again, we apologize for our lack of communication and we should not have had school on Monday.

Finally, we spoke at the meeting as a district about installing carbon monoxide detectors in every classroom in the elementary and middle and high schools as soon as we can. While this is absolutely not required by any Oregon state law, we are going to do it for our staff and kids. In addition, the boiler will be checked at least 4 times a year for leakages and blockages instead of the usual every two years.”

Sincerely Yours,

Dr. Karen Fischer Gray