2 Philadelphia schools treated for asbestos reopening, parents concerned

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Two Philadelphia schools treated for asbestos are expected to reopen next week, but some parents think it's too soon.

School district officials said classes at Carnell Elementary in Oxford Circle should resume on Monday. McClure Elementary in Hunting Park is anticipated to reopen on Wednesday.

A message on McClure's website says classes for Pre-K students are expected to return on Tuesday, January 21.

Both buildings have been closed since December 20 because of asbestos. A round of testing is scheduled for this weekend to make sure both schools are safe.

"Necessary repairs have been completed and testing is being conducted over the weekend to determine that the school is safe for the reoccupancy of students and staff on Monday," a message reads on Carnell Elemenatry's website.

On Thursday, the School District of Philadelphia refused to allow media inside a meeting between officials and McClure Elementary parents.

Some parents told Action News they walked out of the meeting when they were told by the school district they would be facing truancy charges if they didn't send their kids back to the school when it reopens.

The school district sent Action News pictures of remediation work to temporarily patch up asbestos issues until it can be completely removed this summer.

However, some parents said they don't want their kids back at the school until all the asbestos has been removed.

"I am not sending my children to school even if they charge me with truancy. I don't care. I worry about my children's safety more than anything else. I am not sending my children to school all because they want to patch up. You don't patch up cancer, you remove it," said parent Cathy Morales.

According to the CDC:

"Asbestos" is a commercial name...given to a variety of six naturally occurring fibrous minerals. These minerals have been used for decades in thousands of commercial products, such as insulation and fireproofing materials, automotive brakes and textile products, and cement and wallboard materials.

When handled, asbestos can separate into microscopic-size particles that remain in the air and are easily inhaled. Persons occupationally exposed to asbestos have developed several types of life-threatening diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Although the use of asbestos and asbestos products has dramatically decreased in recent years, they are still found in many residential and commercial settings and continue to pose a health risk to workers and others.
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