Water main break gives West Salem students extra day of vacation

The stretch of single digit temperatures above and below zero ended up giving kids in West Salem another day of winter break on Tuesday.

A water main just north of the high school broke in the early morning hours on Monday. Because it was New Year’s Day, the Village of West Salem wasn’t able to get a sub-contractor in to fix the water main until noon Tuesday.

That forced district officials to cancel classes for Tuesday on short notice Monday afternoon, which they understand may have caused some headaches for parents.

“If you’re a parent of little ones and you’re off back to work today, and it’s like, ‘now who’s going to watch my children, how am I going to manage that?’ so I’m sure that was difficult for a number of them,” said superintendent Troy Gunderson.

According to Gunderson, the water main is a fairly consistent problem for the district, but they’re usually able to work around any issues. That wasn’t the case on Monday due to the holiday.

“It’s frustrating because I’m sure parents, especially with little kids, they’re anxious to get back to school, they’ve had enough break time and they want to get back to a routine again,” said Gunderson. “Then the day before (school resumes) someone says, ‘oh, by the way, one more day of vacation.'”

The district is treating the unexpected day off as a snow day. Since it was their first cancellation of the year, the day won’t have to be made up.