Irene's flash flooding dumped river water and sewage into Moretown Elementary and sent the school's new principal into a tailspin.
"It wasn't even on my radar. There's nothing in the handbook, the administrative handbook, on flooding, gas leaks and evacuations. So it was minute by minute," Principal Duane Pierson said.
Pierson's school is now closed indefinitely. Fans-- not students-- now fill the halls. A professional cleaning crew has been hired through the school's insurer to get rid of the smell and tear up the floors, freeing up teachers to lend a hand in the community.
Teacher Brenda Hartshorn said, "I went to Town Hall with my gloves and my boots and my bleach and said, I'm here, can I help?"
Hartshorn is not alone. There were more than a dozen teachers working alongside their students.
They may be outside the classroom but these kids say they're learning valuable life lessons.
"We're learning how to be a community and that's even better than learning algebra in my opinion," Moretown student Kathryn Pilliod said.
"I feel like I should help people," student Jacob Palmerio said. "And I just feel like it wouldn't be very nice if I just stayed home."
The dust here is thick and no one's quite sure what's in it. The town is handing out masks, and parents and teachers are trying to keep the younger children out of it.
For parents in this community, no school is quickly turning into a child care nightmare.
"I took the day off on Tuesday to stay with the kids and I actually came into town and watched somebody else's kids, so they could clean up their house," dad Stephen Magill said.
If the closure continues the district will seek temporary locations to hold classes. Long term, Moretown may be forced to ask the state to reduce the number of mandatory school days. For now, the teachers are focused on making sure their kids are OK.
"We're not worried about making up the days," Hartshorn said. "We're worried about getting back to school so the kids can have some sort of a normal routine away from this."
Now Moretown is certainly not the only school facing this issue. The Vermont Department of Education says Grafton, Bethel, Stockbridge and Rochester schools are also closed indefinitely, and dozens more are delayed more than a week.
Monday, March 10 2014 10:12 AM EDT2014-03-10 14:12:15 GMT
A well-known Vermont judge has passed away.According to the Vermont Standard Judge Franklin Billings Jr., died Sunday morning. Billings was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 1960, quicklyMore >>
Franklin Billings Jr., an iconic political and judicial leader and the son of a former Vermont governor, has died at the Woodstock home where he was born. He was 91.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 10:02 AM EDT2014-03-10 14:02:49 GMT
The spring issue of "4 Legs & a Tail" has hit news stands. Stories include getting your pet adjusted to a new baby, advice on keeping pets safe during golf season and Vermont's first Dog and Pony Show.More >>
The spring issue of "4 Legs & a Tail" has hit news stands. Editor Tim Hoehn visited the Morning Show to share a few of the cover stories that might interest pet lovers.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 9:36 AM EDT2014-03-10 13:36:39 GMT
Chef Courtney Contos of Contos Store and Kitchen in Shelburne gave us her mom's homemade soda bread recipe. This Irish treat is just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Try your hand at it. Mom's Irish SodaMore >>
Chef Courtney Contos of Contos Store and Kitchen in Shelburne gave us her mom's homemade soda bread recipe. This Irish treat is just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Try your hand at it.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-03-10 02:43:23 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:56:33 GMT
Flags were flying on the Statehouse steps Sunday afternoon as more than 500 people gathered for the Gun Owners of Vermont Rally."Vermonters -- not just hunting Vermonters who happen to have firearms forMore >>
A trio of gun control measures may have gotten the green light from Burlington voters on Town Meeting Day, but the charter changes face strong opposition across the state, and a possible uphill battle at the Statehouse.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:43:32 GMT
Is the marketing behind Electronic Cigarettes aimed at kids?New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) says the industry's trendy packaging and flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy aren't foolingMore >>
Schumer is co-sponsoring a Senate bill that would ban e-cigarette marketing aimed at kids.More >>