Students at Philly School to Miss 8 Days as Asbestos Closures Extended Again

Alexander K. McClure and Laura H. Carnell elementary schools to remain closed into next week, school officials say

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What to Know

  • The Philadelphia school district first closed Alexander K. McClure Elementary School and Laura Carnell Elementary School Dec. 20, 2019
  • The district doesn't have a plan yet for makeup days for students, who are not going to school during the closures
  • The asbestos was found in pipe insulation

Students at Alexander K. McClure Elementary School on West Hunting Park Avenue and Laura H. Carnell Elementary School on Devereaux Avenue will continue to miss days in class as the Philadelphia school district tries figuring out what to do after finding asbestos.

Officials said the dangerous building material was discovered in pipe insulation inside both buildings last year. Both schools were closed Dec. 20, 2019.

Carnell will remain closed Jan. 6, bringing missed school days for students there up to 4.

McClure will remain closed through Jan. 10, bringing missed school days for students there up to 8.

A district spokeswoman said Friday that officials have yet to decide how students at the schools will make up the missed days. According to Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements, students must attend school at least 180 days in a year.

Staff at Carnell should report to Little School House and staff at McClure should report to Roberto Clemente Middle School, the district said in a statement.

Asbestos in Philadelphia schools kept some students from returning to class today. Parents are demanding change from the school district to put an end to these issues. NBC10’s Stephanía Jiménez was at Roberto Clemente Middle School to speak with some concerned parents.

Cleaning, abatement work and air quality testing are taking place in both buildings before students and staff are allowed back in.

Asbestos was an ongoing issue for Philadelphia schools in 2019. Pratt Head Start on North 22nd Street was closed in November while Benjamin Franklin High School and Science Leadership Academy, which share a building on North Broad Street, were closed in September.

A little girl protesting outside McClure Elementary School in Philadelphia in December 2019. The school was closed Dec. 20 because of asbestos.

School district officials announced they were using at least $12 million in operating funds and $500 million in capital funding to alleviate issues like asbestos and lead paint in 141 of its aging buildings. About 86,000 young people will be affected by the "Healthy Schools" environmental plan, the district said.

Asbestos is a fibrous material that was commonly used in commercial products such as installation and fire proofing for decades, according to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

When inhaled, the microscopic particles from asbestos can cause life-threatening diseases including lung cancer and mesothelioma, the NIOSH says.

The Philadelphia school district stopped using asbestos in any buildings erected after 1978, according to Superintendent William Hite.

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