District: Closed Scranton Schools To Undergo Air Quality Testing

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UPDATE: The Scranton School District released a statement Thursday afternoon regarding the ongoing issues with lead and asbestos in district owned buildings.

Scranton School District – Environmental Remediation “The health, safety, and welfare of students and staff is the District’s number one priority.

The district has been in constant contact with environmental professionals in order to maintain safe schools and resolve the environmental conditions found in our facilities.

As a part of the district’s immediate plans to provide a safe environment, the district has closed Northeast Intermediate, Frances Willard Elementary, and Robert Morris Elementary.

Representatives from both Guzek Associates and Datom Products, are on-site at these locations assessing the situation.

Air quality tests will be done in each building prior to their reopening; we will keep these buildings closed until all are deemed safe for students and staff.” — Melissa McTiernan, Superintendent.

UPDATE: The following schools in the Scranton School District are closed Friday:

  • Morris Elementary is closed Friday for remediation and removal of pipe fittings. The school will reopen after all affected areas are stabilized and air quality tests report safe conditions.
  • Willard Elementary is closed Friday due to wall and ceiling deterioration. The school will reopen after all affected areas are stabilized and air quality tests report safe conditions. 
  • Prescott Elementary is closed Friday for remediation and removal of a pipe fitting. The fitting was in an encapsulated area. The school will reopen after the affected area is stabilized and air quality tests report safe conditions.
  • NE Intermediate will be closed Friday for asbestos testing.

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Four schools are now closed as a result of asbestos and/or lead contamination concerns in the Scranton School District.

The Prescott Elementary School was added to the list this afternoon because of lead concerns. Parents and students tell Eyewitness News they are very concerned about the situation.

They say they were caught off guard when their schools were closed. Tonight there are many more questions than there are answers.

“It’s a great school you know. It seems they should have solved this problem a while back. It’s not the first time it’s being investigated and I don’t see why they’re wasting their time now. They knew they had a problem several years ago,” Scott Haver told Eyewitness News.

And Eyewitness News heard that over and over again as parents were bringing their kids to the Robert Morris Elementary School, only to find HAZMAT crews on the scene. School district officials and workers are removing pipe fittings that could be connected to high lead levels in water tests.

33 of its 38 water fountains and sinks show elevated levels of lead. They are also removing asbestos found in the building.

Similar testing and remediation efforts are underway at the Francis Williard Elementary School, Northeast Intermediate School and Prescott Elementary School.

William Brady is downright angry about the situation. The district was aware of lead issues in 2016 — that water levels in these buildings showed higher than acceptable lead levels. He’s not sure if he will ever send his two daughters back to school.

“Right now I’m leaving that up in the air I’m consulting with a lawyer. The school district lied, putting all these children in danger with asbestos and everything else,” said Brady.

Not only are parents frustrated, so are students.

Sasha Giles, a Northeast Intermediate student told Eywitness News, “I like to go to school. I was going to finish my slide project today but I guess I can’t.”

So many people are asking how could all of this happen. Especially why the lead in the water when the school district was aware of this in 2016.

Many questions but few answers as the district deals with lead and asbestos problems and concerns in its buildings.

Three schools are closed and testing is being done in the other schools. 16 buildings in total are involved.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has guidelines and information for asbestos removal. Click Here for details.


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