United Church Nursery School reopens after safety inspections


The United Church of Rockville Centre’s nursery school reopened on Monday after being closed all of last week amid parent concerns of classroom safety conditions.

Janice Burke, the school’s director for the past five years, resigned earlier this month “due to a disagreement about the maintenance of the facility,” she wrote on the United Church Nursery School’s Facebook page on Dec. 1.

A few days later, parents had questioned school officials about a leaky radiator that hung from the ceiling of one of the classrooms, which had been fixed, and called for further inspection. The nursery school was closed all of last week as professionals came in to ensure the school’s safety.

According to a written report by Keith O’Hara, manager of Petro Commercial Services, an automatic water feeder was installed, and the steam pressure was lowered on Dec. 2 to prevent the heating system from overfilling with water and causing another leak.

Herman Silverberg, a structural engineer from P.E.I. Engineering, conducted a site inspection on Dec. 7 with parents and teachers present, and wrote in a report that “there are no observed problems with the radiator support system and no safety concerns.”

Chief Inspector Peter Kulugewicz, of the Rockville Centre Fire Department, wrote in a letter: “I checked every classroom and found no problems.”

“I think we were happy to be able to resolve all the parents’ and the teachers’ concerns,” said Joseph Dunne, a local attorney who represents the church, “and we feel this is going to put the school on a better footing.”

Pepper Robinson, chairwoman of the church’s board of trustees, noted, “I believe that we’re going to come out of this more united. The nursery school is going to know the church, and the church is going to know the nursery school better.”

She said a meeting with the parents on Monday was “positive,” adding that she is happy school is back in session.

“The teachers were delighted to see their children and the children were excited to see their teachers,” Robinson said. “Everybody downstairs was like, ‘I missed you!’ It was very sweet.”

The school continues to look for a new director, and Robinson said that a hiring decision would most likely not be made until after Christmas.