By Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland Public Schools has shut down drinking fountains at all of its schools and will use bottled water for the remaining school year after tests at two schools found high levels of lead in water from sinks and fountains.
Oregon’s largest school district said in a statement late Friday that it is working with Multnomah County to provide on-site blood lead level screening next month for students at Creston and Rose City Park. Officials plan to test every fountain and faucet in all the schools this summer.
“In addition to providing safe drinking water to all of our students, we will be taking immediate action to examine the protocols and procedures that resulted in delayed notification of our families and delays in shutting off impacted water sources,” Superintendent Carole Smith said in a statement Friday.
Earlier Friday, Smith apologized for letting students and teachers at two schools continue using the drinking sources after tests showed unsafe levels of lead. When tests came back positive for lead, officials took steps to repair or replace plumbing, but they didn’t warn people not to drink the water, The Oregonian/Oregon Live reported.
“Portland Public Schools regrets not having notified families and staff as soon as the tests indicated that there were elevated levels of lead,” Smith wrote in an email to all families.
Lead is a known neurotoxin that is particularly harmful to young children.
Earlier in the week, the school district notified parents that tests conducted…