Students Return to Kent School After Flooding Evacuations

Students evacuated last week from Kent School due to the ice jams on the Housatonic River moved back to campus Wednesday and will go back to class Thursday.

Exclusive aerials from NBC Connecticut’s Drone Ranger showed crews pumping out water from the Kent School campus Wednesday afternoon. Meanwhile, students returned to the private school, where most of the 580 students live, in anticipation of classes resuming Thursday.

The students had to leave campus on Jan. 15 because of the ice jams on the Housatonic River, which caused flooding throughout much of the area surrounding the river and inside some of the campus buildings.

School officials told NBC Connecticut that the buildings along the river have flooded, but it has been limited to basements. There has been no impact to classrooms and administrative offices.

Gabriella Crawford, who plays hockey for Kent, describes what it was like at the school’s ice rink.

“Our team had to make sure that we got everything out of the locker room because the rink was pretty… I don’t think it actually got flooded, but they didn’t really know because the water was coming so high to the rink so we got all of our stuff out of there,” said Gabriella, who we met after her father, Bob, drove her back to school from Bedford, New York.

“Her roommate is from Nova Scotia so she stayed a few days with us then went back home, then came back and stayed with us today brought her up,” said Bob.

A spokesperson with Kent School told NBC Connecticut in a statement: “We are very closely monitoring both weather and the river. We are working closely with our state representative, local fire department and others who are monitoring this issue. We’re trying to understand the river flow and the anticipated rise of the river level.”

Bob praised the school for its communication efforts with parents.

“Every day, we’ve been constantly getting e-mails from the school, getting updates on what’s going on at the campus, what’s going on with their courses, as well as what’s going on with their sports so it’s been smooth in that way.”

Meanwhile, two miles away from Kent School, part of Route 7 was shut down in between Route 341 and Bulls Bridge. At around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, water from the river made its way onto Route 7, causing drivers to reroute.

State Representative Brian Ohler, one of the emergency officials closely monitoring the situation on the Housatonic, said they are hoping the water can be cleared out the water by Wednesday night.

“DOT has been working down there to try and find an access point where the water can flow back into the river and then they have to put a lot of salt down because tonight it’s supposed to be in the teens and we want to make sure the road is safe for passage.”

Salt was put down in areas where the water receded.

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