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January 02, 2020

Two Philadelphia elementary schools remain closed due to ongoing asbestos cleanups

Schools Asbestos
Philadelphia elementary school asbestos Screenshot/Google Street View

Laura H. Carnell Elementary School on 1100 Devereaux St. and Alexander K. McClure Elementary School on 600 W. Hunting Park will remain closed after the two schools were closed in December upon the discovery of asbestos in the schools' pipe insulation.

While Philadelphia's public school students returned to classes on Thursday after winter break,  two city elementary schools remained closed after the Philadelphia School District continues the work to remove the asbestos found in the buildings in December. 

Alexander McClure Elementary School in Hunting Park and Laura H. Carnell Elementary School in Oxford Circle will be closed on Thursday and Friday out of an “abundance of caution,” the school district announced.

The schools closed last month to remediate the asbestos after exposed insulation was found on pipes in both buildings. The plan had been for McClure and Carnell to reopen on Thursday.

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers called for the closure of Carnell and relocation for students after the district’s environmental team and PFT found the damaged and exposed asbestos insulation on a pipe insulation inside a staff bathroom. Crushed asbestos tiles also were found in a maintenance closet. Teachers reported concerns in eight different classroom, as well.

Carnell students and staff were relocated to Little School House on 1722 S. Fourth St., while McClure students and staff were moved to Roberto Clemente Middle School on 122 W. Erie Ave.

Asbestos has been a issue for the school district this school year. In September, the renovated building that was supposed to be the new combined home for Benjamin Franklin High School and Science Leadership Academy on North Broad Street closed when school officials found airborne asbestos inside areas were ductwork insulation had been damaged. 

Two others schools closed for remediation this year, including Franklin Learning Center on 606 N. 15th St. and Pratt Head Start on 2200 N. 22nd St.

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