The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

Campus closes due to water main leakage

The Upper School experienced a water main leak that resulted in campus closing  Sept. 4 and Sept. 5 as announced in an email from Head Upper School Beth Slattery. Teachers had the choice to conduct classes through Zoom or assign asynchronous work until maintenance and the Los Angeles (LA) Department of Water and Power  fixed the leak.  

Slattery said the leak was first reported by security guards who found a small puddle in  the main driveway.

“The night before [Labor Day], security had noticed that there was a puddle on the ground in the main driveway,” Slattery said. “It hadn’t rained or anything, [and] it was just a small puddle, not big flooding. What they realized was that there was a water main leak that was leaking three to four gallons per minute  underneath the ground. All that was showing on the surface was this little puddle, but there was water all underneath that.”

Slattery said the maintenance team repaired the leak on campus quickly, but in-person instruction was cancelled for a second day out of caution.

“[Maintenance] had to excavate the whole thing to figure out where the leak was,” Slattery said. “[They had] to shut off the water, secure the pieces of the pipe and take out the piece that was broken. The repairs were  done by around 10:30 in the morning on the second day that we cancelled classes, but because we had to tell everybody the day before, and we didn’t know, it was just better that we [cancelled classes again].”

Upper School Latin Teacher Bradford Holmes said he wanted to avoid using Zoom and  assigned  work for his students to complete on their own instead.

“I chose to give everyone asynchronous work which meant class did not meet,” Holmes said. “I chose to do that because I dislike Zoom teaching and was confident my classes had both the ability to essentially cover a day’s worth of material on their own and the responsibility to do it.”

Holmes said the standardized Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum meant that he had to assign asynchronous work rather than push back the lesson.

“The challenges depend on the class, so AP Latin does present a greater challenge than some other classes,” Holmes said. “I can’t just push everything back a day or cut something out because the curriculum is pre-set and hefty, and the course is timed out from day one to cover it in a reasonable manner and leave a few weeks for review.”

Other extracurricular activities continued with scheduled events upon faculty discretion. Rehearsals for the fall play, for example, were conducted on Zoom during the closure. Mellow Eaton ’25, who is an actor in the play, said she appreciated the break from both in-person instruction and rehearsal.

“Rehearsal was conducted as well as it could have been over Zoom,” Eaton said. “Thankfully, I only had one or two online classes a day, the rest being asynchronous, and although it was really draining, the workload felt higher. I had been feeling drained, and it was a good opportunity to rejuvenate.”

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