Students return to Mastery's Simon Gratz Middle School after asbestos closure

Mastery's Simon Gratz High School could reopen Tuesday if "no major incidents are discovered."

Monday, March 13, 2023
Students return to Mastery's Simon Gratz Middle School today
EMBED <>More Videos

Students, faculty and staff have returned for in-person classes at Mastery Gratz Prep Middle School in Tioga-Nicetown.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Students returned to the classroom at Mastery Gratz Middle School on Monday in the wake of concerns raised be the presence of asbestos.

In an update on Sunday, Mastery Charter Schools CEO Scott Gordon said the inspection at the high school should be completed by Monday night.

Mastery's Simon Gratz High School could reopen Tuesday, March 14, if "no major incidents are discovered, and if they are able to finish the inspection early enough," Gordon said.

The high school and middle school were both closed after routine inspections found asbestos last week.

SEE ALSO: Mastery Gratz Middle School students cleared to return after asbestos concerns

Building 21 in the city's West Oak Lane neighborhood was also closed due to asbestos.

Students and staff were relocated to Strawberry Mansion High School and faced a rocky transition.

Those students have recently been cleared by the state to attend virtual learning.

The district is still working out a plan for this week. An announcement on Building 21 is expected on Monday.

Read CEO Scott Gordon's letter to students below:

"This update covers what we know to date regarding the School District of Philadelphia's inspection of the Simon Gratz High School facility. As of today, the District expects to complete the inspection at Gratz High School tomorrow evening. The inspections continue to identify minor findings that are repaired or addressed the same day. If there are no major incidents discovered, and if they are able to finish the inspection early enough in the evening for us to give you notice, we hope to be open on Tuesday, March 14th. We will send an email tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. to confirm.

The School District of Philadelphia does expect to continue its inspection of the auditorium, which will be sealed off to students and staff. The work in the auditorium can continue while school is open.

Until the high school is reopened, Mastery will be distributing meals on Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside of Mastery Prep Elementary School, 1801 W. Pike Street, at the 18th Street entrance. Each family will receive three sets of breakfasts and lunches, covering Monday to Wednesday, in the event that we need to stay closed a greater number of days than expected.

As a reminder to families who may have students in more than one Mastery school, Mastery Prep Middle School and all other schools are open this week. "