Asbestos in Philadelphia Schools: Suspicious parents confront district officials

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia parents came together Friday night in an effort to pinpoint when an asbestos cleanup will be done and their kids can get back to school.

Students at Carnell Elementary School have been out of class since December 20.

At this time, the district says they will not reopen schools until they are safe. Officials say 174 of the district's 214 schools have asbestos in some form in the building.

Officials say asbestos only becomes a problem when it becomes loose and airborne. They decided to shut down Carnell, in addition to McClure Elementary, as soon as they learned of the potential hazards just before the winter break.

Pelzer said before students and staff are back in the building, the school will conduct air testing and cleaning as necessary. They will provide results of the air quality tests on the District's website.

Meanwhile, children who attend McClure Elementary in Hunting Park have also had to stay home for the same reason.

"As communicated on December 19, the District's Office of Environmental Management and Services identified an imminent hazard involving damage to asbestos-containing pipe insulation at McClure Elementary School in the basement hallway and second-floor hallway," McClure Principal Sharon Marino said in a letter.

The School District of Philadelphia announced it's keeping McClure closed another week through January 13 out of an abundance of caution. Staff should report to Roberto Clemente Middle School in the meantime.

Carnell Elementary will remain closed on January 6. All staff is being asked to report to the Little School House.

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