Scranton School District discusses asbestos, hybrid learning program

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Scranton School District is addressing its asbestos and lead issues in its buildings.

Board directors approved bids Monday night to complete the cleanup work before the school year starts. If you remember back in February, students at Northeast Scranton Intermediate School were relocate to West and South Scranton Intermediate Schools for asbestos concerns.

Well, Northeast’s remediation is complete while others need work. Scranton School District is on the path to fixing its well-known asbestos issues in nearly all of its building. 

“The silver lining of school closures did give us a little more time to address some of those issues at northeast and now this is the next step of the work,” said Katie Gilmarti, President, Scranton School Board.

Gilmartin said at Monday night’s special meeting the board approved two bids to finish the remediation. Lycoming Supply of Williamsport will remediate nine buildings at $355,000 while Datom Products will continue to complete three at a cost of $189,000.  

“There is a wide range of issues that still need to be addressed and this will sort of take care of our second tier of needs,” said Gilmartin.

As a parent of three in the district, Vivian Williams is happy to see the district take the steps to eliminate an ongoing health risk. 

“They’ve shown their commitment to listening to the parents and also putting the money where it needs to be to fix the buildings up. Whether we go back or not,” said Williams.

On top of environmental concerns the district is looking ahead to the 2020-2021 school year. The Board of Directors is tossing around the idea of in-person and online learning, that remains unclear. 

“A plan needs to be in place so parents can better uhm get them situated to deal with what comes in August,” said Williams.

“Apparently they think we can do two jobs at one time. Teach in person and go online at the same time,” Rosemary Boland, President, Scranton Federation of Teachers.

Boland is asking district officals to include teachers when making academic changes come this fall because of COVID-19.

“I think before we get to the educational part of it we have to get to the safety.. the health and safety part of it first. Once we get that ironed out, then we can sit down and figure out what we are going to do and how we’re going to do it,” said Boland.

Asbestos remediation and lead abatement is expected to start in the coming days and must be completed by August 21st.

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