SHALER (KDKA) – Several students and teachers from Shaler Area Elementary School continue to recover today after some ductwork fell from the ceiling of the school during a crowded lunch period Tuesday.

As repairs and inspections are made at the school, one thing will definitely change when students return the cafeteria will remain closed for the rest of the school year.

Shaler Area Elementary School was closed today after a dozen children and teachers were injured when an air duct in the cafeteria unhinged and fell from the ceiling during fourth grade lunch period.

School Superintendent Dr. Wesley Shipley says it has been an emotional ordeal for everyone involved.

“It was not just a traumatic experience for the kids, even though the kids were most directly affected,” said Dr. Shipley. “The teachers that were involved certainly care a lot about what the kids are going through and it’s traumatic for them as well.”

Some parents were also upset after learning of the accident on the news.

Dr. Shipley says he’s planning to have a meeting with the parents to address concerns next week, but explained that the first families notified were those of injured children.

”It wasn’t for a lack of trying. Obviously, we had to prioritize the messages that we were sending, and we wanted to make sure we took care of those who were immediately harmed and on their way to the hospitals,” said Dr. Shipley.

Meanwhile, students are on spring break, not returning back until Wednesday.

Dr. Shipley has also shut down two gymnasiums in another school, saying that the same company responsible for the 2007 renovations at the elementary school also did work at the high school.

“Until we can ensure that we are safe in both areas, the gyms at the high school and the cafeteria at the elementary school will remain closed,” said Dr. Shipley.

An expert from the District Attorney’s office is helping with the investigation and the area is being treated as a crime scene.


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