Scranton school closed indefinitely

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) – Northeast Scranton Intermediate School remains closed indefinitely.

Monday night, the Scranton School District is holding its first public meeting since environmental reports were released on Monday of last week. Those reports revealed elevated lead levels and asbestos concerns with poor air quality.

Parents in the district are expected to pack the Scranton High School auditorium Monday night. A lot is expected to be on the table including experts talking about those reports and a possible decision on the already closed Northeast Intermediate School.

In the past week, four schools were shut down for lead and asbestos remediation leaving teachers and students out of the classroom.

Eyewitness News has not confirmed that these photos show patches from asbestos remediation inside a Scranton School District building.

Some photos even show areas exposed.

On Monday, Northeast Intermediate School remained closed as a hazmat crews clean every desk before they are relocated to two other intermediate schools.

“West Intermediate they are dismantling the library and they are going to turn that into classroom space and at South they need every available space,” said Rosemary Boland, the President of the Scranton Federation of Teachers.

At Monday night’s meeting, district administrators are likely to talk about the future of Northeast, it’s 800 students and 75 teachers.

“I think we will have more of a plan this evening whether it is complete or in process, I don’t know because that is really happening in real time,” said Katie Gilmartin, President, Scranton School District Board of Directors.

Gilmartin however is confident an immediate plan is coming.

“It’s very, very complicated but the goal is to get these intermediate students back in the classroom,” said Gilmartin.

“We have been told repeatedly that they can close schools in our district and if this is an indicator of how schools are going to be closed it does not bode well for our district,” said Boland.

Northeast Intermediate School’s closure could be permanent.

We’re told the 800 children who attend the school would be split between West Scranton Intermediate School and South Scranton Intermediate School.

In a report released by the Scranton School District, environmental testing of Northeast Intermediate revealed multiple rooms with asbestos content and Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act hazard levels of 6 out of a possible 7. According to the AHERA, schools are required to “evacuate or restrict” areas with hazard levels of 6 or above as well as “remove, enclose, encapsulate, or repair to correct damage.”

The most hazardous rooms of Northeast Intermediate included room 003 on the ground floor of the 1931 section of the school, and rooms 231, 233, and 234 in the 1906 Section.

The report was last updated August 2019. To read the full report, click here.

Several sinks in the Northeast Intermediate building also tested positive for heightened levels of lead. In the first-floor home economics room, sink #5 was tested to have .027 milligrams of lead per liter (mg/l). The EPA remediation level is .02 mg/l. Sinks #1 and #4 were also above the remediation level and tested at .017 mg/l and .016 mg/l respectively. In the basement, the cafeteria kitchen sink also has heightened levels of lead and tested at .016 mg/l.

Guidelines recommend that “any fountain or faucet used for drinking with elevated lead content should be permanently removed and replaced with a bottled water cooler.” You can read the full evaluation of lead in drinking water at Northeast Scranton Intermediate School here.

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