Shenandoah High School

UPDATE: 6:33 P.M.

(Shenandoah) -- Classes will go on as scheduled in the Shenandoah School District Tuesday.

School officials say a mysterious odor that forced an early dismissal of the district's students Monday afternoon was determined as not threatening. Shenandoah School Superintendent Dr. Kerri Nelson tells KMA News the smell was first reported at the high school building.

"I was over at the high school," said Nelson, "and, Mr. (Jason) Shaffer stopped me, and indicated there was a strong odor he was having checked out inside the building. After looking at it, and investigating it a little bit, we decided that it would be best to consult with MidAmerican. And so, at around 2:15, we made the decision to evacuate that building."

Nelson says classes ended at the JK-8 building several minutes later after that same odor was detected in that facility.

"As I was notifying the elementary," she said, "in the middle school, Mr. (Monte) Munsinger and I were visiting, and they were smelling the odor closer to their campus, as well. So, we did make the decision to release the elementary students and the middle school students."

Nelson says no illnesses were reported as a result of the odor. But, the superintendent says it's better to err on the side of caution.

"It's really out of an abundance of caution," said Nelson. "We don't know what the odor. The person at MidAmerican wasn't confident that they knew what it was, and it wasn't registering as gas from their meter. But, they weren't confident that they knew what the problem was either. So, we felt it was best to make that decision."

After an investigation by MidAmerican Energy and Shenandoah's Fire Department, it was determined that the odor was harmless, and that all classes and activities will go on Tuesday as scheduled. The source of the smell had not been determined as of Monday evening.


ORIGINAL STORY: 3:28 P.M.

(Shenandoah) -- Classes in the Shenandoah School District came to an abrupt end Monday afternoon due to an unidentified odor.

Shenandoah School Superintendent Dr. Kerri Nelson tells KMA News students and staff at Shenandoah High School were evacuated at around 2:15 p.m. after the odor was first detected in that building.

"I was over at the high school," said Nelson, "and, Mr. (Jason) Shaffer stopped me, and indicated there was a strong odor he was having checked out inside the building. After looking at it, and investigating it a little bit, we decided that it would be best to consult with MidAmerican. And so, at around 2:15, we made the decision to evacuate that building."

Nelson says classes ended at Shenandoah's Elementary and Middle School Building several minutes later after that same odor was detected in that facility.

"As I was notifying the elementary," she said, "in the middle school, Mr. (Monte) Munsinger and I were visiting, and they were smelling the odor closer to their campus, as well. So, we did make the decision to release the elementary students and the middle school students."

Nelson says no illnesses were reported as a result of the odor. But, the superintendent says it's better to err on the side of caution.

"It's really out of an abundance of caution," said Nelson. "We don't know what the odor. The person at MidAmerican wasn't confident that they knew what it was, and it wasn't registering as gas from their meter. But, they weren't confident that they knew what the problem was either. So, we felt it was best to make that decision."

MidAmerican Energy crews were still at both facilities Monday afternoon. Shenandoah's Fire Department and Page County Emergency Management Coordinator Kris Grebert were also called in to investigate.

Thank you for reading kmaland.com

At KMA, we attempt to be accurate in our reporting. If you see a typo or mistake in a story, please contact us by emailing kmaradio@kmaland.com.