Call 4 Action: Two elementary schools in South Buffalo with limited to no hot water for weeks

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — There are health concerns at two schools in Buffalo – those two schools have not had consistent hot water for weeks. One parent tells News 4 these problems started at her child’s school back in mid-December and repairs still haven’t been made.

Parents made a call to Call 4 Action – trying to get the problems fixed.

Parents of course have a number of concerns. At the top of the list, their kids have not been able to properly wash their hands — a problem they say has gone on for too long.

Running hot water has been inconsistent at both Southside Elementary and Lorraine Elementary for weeks. Both schools educate kids who in the Pre-K to eighth grades. One parent tells us issues with the hot water at Lorraine started in mid-December. Frustrated families contacted Call 4 Action.

“Ultimately, I feel the parents reached out because, as we’ve learned in the past, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and that’s what we’re looking for at this point is to get our problem solved,” said Katie Host, a parent of two kids at Lorraine Elementary in the third and first grade. “I know I had checked in with my daughter and she had said by the time she goes to the restroom in the afternoon, there’s no hot water in the restrooms for them to wash their hands.”

With it being flu season and COVID still around — parents have been concerned that their kids have not been able to properly wash their hands and school staff haven’t been able to properly sanitize schools.

“Because of the no hot water in the building they were advised that they were going to be doing boxed lunches for the kids as they weren’t able to warm up the food properly as well as clean up properly from those lunches,” Host said. “As much as we think hand sanitizer’s great, Clorox wipes are going to do the job, there’s a ton of chemicals in those and unfortunately, we don’t want our kids exposed to that constantly.”

In a statement Buffalo Schools says: “We are aware of the concerns of the community and we are working expeditiously to remedy the situation […] the district is sympathetic about the concerns regarding inconsistent hot water at Lorraine and Southside academy schools […] we understand that humanely, the children and staff at these schools need and must have access to hot water.”

The district assures us hot water is expected to be fully restored at Southside by the end of the week.

At Lorraine Elementary, the district says new parts were delivered to the district this week. The district says it’s working to have those parts installed immediately.

The Erie County Health Department conducted a routine inspection at Lorraine Elementary on Monday. According to a spokesperson for the health department, a sanitarian found that there was no hot water at two sinks in the cafeteria. The health department says sanitarians will return back to Lorraine Elementary later this month for a re-inspection.

A spokesperson for the district says if those parts do not fix the issue, the district will look to find alternatives to fully restore hot water. Superintendent Dr. Tonja Williams has told district trades and plant staff to help out at both schools. We will stay on top of this issue.

If you have a Call 4 Action complaint — you can call our hotline — at 716-879-4900.

All inspection summaries from Erie County can be found online.

Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.

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