PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The first day of class for one Pawtucket elementary school is officially being pushed back a week, according to Mayor Donald Grebien.
Grebien said Henry J. Winters Elementary School will not open as previously planned Wednesday because there are “a number of health and safety items that still need to be addressed.”
“I am sorry for the children and families whose first day of school will be spoiled and pushed back due to this delay,” the mayor said. “I am disappointed that Winters will not open on time like every other school.”
Grebien said he was notified of the delay Tuesday night, after the city’s fire safety and building code compliance teams toured the school building and determined it wasn’t ready for students, teachers and staff.
The mayor apologized to everyone who has been impacted by the delay and slammed the school department for not notifying families sooner.
“You are owed an apology and more,” Grebien said. “I will work with all involved to get to the bottom of why this unacceptable lack of communication happened to ensure it never happens again.”
Pawtucket Superintendent Dr. Cheryl McWilliams said the delay is “due to unforeseen circumstances” that were first brought to the school department’s attention Tuesday.
“This is an extremely unfortunate circumstance that is beyond our control,” she said.
McWilliams said the new first day of school has been tentatively scheduled for Sept. 6.
The mayor assured families he will do everything in his power to “ensure this state-of-the-art school opens as soon as possible.”
“Ultimately, I know it will be worth this unfortunate wait for our youth to have access to such a facility for years to come,” he added.
The elementary school was first demolished back in May 2020. Students have been learning inside the Pawtucket School Annex on Central Avenue ever since.