Students Rachel Daw and Sam Neil said the flushing process started during second period, and an announcement was made over the intercom advising teachers to go through the flushing protocol, alternating hot and cold water.
Midland Trail librarian Katie Kidd said water fountains and faucets in the school were running when teachers and students arrived around 7 a.m, and the school smelled of black licorice. Doors and windows were opened, but monitored so that no one could get in, she said.
"They'd been running all morning long," Kidd said. "They had been flushing all morning when students were in the building."
Last week, six area schools were also ordered to re-flush after Crude MCHM was detected. Those schools were closed, flushed, re-tested and cleared to reopen for class.
Riverside and Midland Trail are scheduled to be closed Thursday so the flushing process can continue. Kanawha County students have attended a total of less than two weeks of school in the past month and a half, due to the water crisis, inclement weather and Christmas Break.
Phares said schools would not be re-opened until "non detect" levels are reported.
"It seems like we've lost this. We've got to trust each other," Phares said at the news conference.
The Kanawha County Public Library's branch at Riverside, which is in the high school, is closed Thursday.
Vic Sprouse, a candidate for the county Board of Education, took to social media on Wednesday to address the school system's response to the chemical spill, which he called "shrouded" and "lackadaisical."
"How are kids allowed back in school and then, low and behold, all of a sudden, schools pop up with traces of the chemical? Were the schools not tested prior to opening? Were they not tested regularly since?" Sprouse said. "This response is similar to responses on school closures or anything really that the central office is questioned on -- trust us, Dr. Duerring is handling it, no more questions please."
Dr. Tanja Popovic, director of the Centers for Disease Control's National Center for Environmental Health said Wednesday she could not countenance the reported illnesses at the two schools with the low test levels of the chemical recorded in testing.
"It's very hard for me to say now that these symptoms are associated with MCHM when the levels are non-detectable," she said.
Popovic also went to lengths to say that the water was OK to use, but said that the CDC avoids using the term "safe."
"One question that keeps coming up and the governor just stated it and put it out there is, 'is your water safe?' What I can say is that with all the scientific evidence that we have, with everything that numerous people have worked on so far, I can say that you can use your water however you like," Popovic said.
After the news conference she clarified further, comparing drinking water to flying on an airplane.
"We're not really talking about whether water is safe, we're talking about is the water appropriate for use given the information we know about MCHM," Popovic said. "The difference is that nobody can say with absolute certainty something is safe. As I said, is flying safe?
"We really just don't use the term safe because that does not well describe what we can do with the information that we have."
Staff writer David Gutman contributed to this report.
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