HUNTING PARK - School officials announced Friday that Alexander McClure Elementary School in Hunting Park will be closed after two air tests showed "slightly elevated" levels of asbestos.
McClure, which closed on Dec. 19th due to asbestos, briefly reopened to students and teachers on Wednesday. However, controversy soon followed regarding air test results taken on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
In a release given Thursday, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) said the air samples taken by School District consultants were elevated with alarming levels of asbestos detected. The union argued that the discovery shows a breach in best practices protocol.
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The district responded by ensuring the test were conducted using apreviously agreed upon protocol and the results confirmed the safety of the building.
The teachers union says further testing overnight Thursday confirmed their "concerns and outrage" about enhanced levels of asbestos in the school following cleaning and abatement efforts made by the district.
"Let me be clear: what has unfolded over the last several days at McClure and at Carnell is an egregious disregard for the safety of our school communities," PFT President Jerry Jordan said. "I am disgusted with the District's ongoing refusal to adhere to our recommendations."
According to school officials, two of the 20 samples taken from McClure on Thursday showed slightly elevated asbestos levels, but were still within acceptable limits designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA). One sample showed levels above the standards.
"The decision to close McClure today was made so that the District and PFT could work together to thoroughly clean the third floor and the City Year office," the District said.
"The District worked with PFT to ensure the building was safe for re-occupancy when students and staff returned on January 15, with both parties agreeing to reopen, And we will continue to work with the PFT as we move forward," officials said.
The results of the latest air quality tests will be made available on McClure's website.
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