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Langdon Elementary School evacuated after gas leak

This is the second gas leak in five days, and the school does not know if they will open on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON — For the second time in five days, students from Langdon Elementary School were evacuated after reports of gas smells in the building. Washington Gas was sent to the school to investigate both incidents. 

The school has decided to open school on Wednesday despite some students and staff reporting headaches. 

On Wednesday morning, Langdon posted that they've received an "all clear" after passing air quality checks.

A Department of Government Services spokesperson told WUSA9 crews are still investigating the source of Tuesday's gas-like odor, but it has been determined the smell was not natural gas.

According to DC Public Schools, the gas leak was detected around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. Students were evacuated to the Washington Center for Aging on 18th Street, Northeast. 

The school posted an update to families on Facebook stating "a new gas leak has been detected," and asking parents to pick their students up from the evacuation site. After school programming was not canceled, but school staff was on-site as late as 5 p.m. waiting for students to be picked up. 

According to DCPS, approximately 350 students attend the school. 

On Dec. 13, parents were sent an email from DCPS confirming that gas smells had been detected in the building, and the school had closed at 1 p.m. so Washington Gas could assess the situation. After school programming was cancelled, but the email stated that staff would "remain at Langdon until the last student is either picked up or released to walk home." 

LaShawn Potts' nine-year-old son started at Langdon Dec. 16, but she said she was at the school Dec. 13 to finish paperwork when the first leak occurred.

"I think that the school is not safe," she said. "And, I think as a new parent joining Langdon, they should have advised me of the current gas leaks."

Now, Potts wants her son moved out of Langdon back to his old school at Payne Elementary.

"I think our children need better protection," Potts said.

Potts also said she was not properly informed of her son's whereabouts during Tuesday's gas leak.

Parent Akila Drayton said she did get the notice she needed to make informed decisions following Tuesday's leak. But, she also said she believes the recent occurrences may have caused her son to fall ill.

"I'm very concerned, because last week, my kid had complained about his head hurting," Drayton said. 

DCPS sent WUSA9 the language of a robocall it delivered to Langdon parents Tuesday afternoon. The message apologized for the inconvenience of the emergency situation.

A spokesperson for Washington Gas also said the utility company made temporary repairs to the leak Tuesday and has plans to permanently fix the problem over winter break.

The DGS oversees construction for DCPS facilities. DGS Director Keith Anderson said his department was also working diligently to fix the problem.

"The Department of General Services takes very seriously the health and safety of students occupying District public school facilities," Anderson said in a statement.

WUSA9 has learned that crews have found and fixed two leaks at Langdon, and that Tuesday's incident may have originated from the HVAC system.

See the full letters sent to parents on Dec. 18. Dec. 17, and Dec. 13 below. 

Dec 18 letter:

We have received the all clear that school will be open on time with the building passing all air quality checks.

A DCPS representative will be onsite to answer all questions.

Special Note: We will see how many students are in attendance today before making a decision regarding the Winter Program originally scheduled for today. If we do reschedule it will be after break. We will update parents after attendance is taken this morning.

Dec. 17 letter: 

Dear Langdon Elementary School Parents and Families:

At 2:30pm. today, Tuesday, December 17, Langdon Elementary School evacuated the building due to the smell of Gas. Students have been moved across the street to Washington Center for Aging located at 2601 18th Street NE where they can be picked up from aftercare. Staff will remain onsite until all children are picked up. Washington Gas Company is on site and working with our partners at Department of General Services to assess and repair the leak. 

Please be assured that the health and safety of our students and staff is paramount at all times. If you have any questions, please call the main office at (202) 576-6048 or email Principal Husbands at kemi.husbands@k12.dc.gov

We apologize for the inconvenience of this emergency closing. I will be in touch with an update this evening. 

Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

Dec. 13 letter: 

Dear Langdon Elementary School Parents and Families:

This message serves as an update from DC Public Schools on the continued gas smell at your building. As of 1 p.m. today, Friday, December 13th Langdon Elementary School has closed early so that the Washington Gas Company can further assess the situation and continue with repair work. There will be no after school or evening programming or activities, and staff members will remain at Langdon until the last student is either picked up or released to walk home. 

Please be assured that the health and safety of our students and staff is paramount at all times. If you have any questions, please call the main office at (202) 576-6048 or email Principal Husbands at kemi.husbands@k12.dc.gov

We apologize for the inconvenience of this emergency closing. I will be in touch with an update this evening. 

Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

RELATED: Several kids hospitalized after Carbon monoxide leak inside Capital Heights home

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