Officials: More asbestos, flaking lead paint discovered in Philadelphia's Building 21 school

Building 21 in Philadelphias West Oak Lane was abruptly closed due to asbestos.

Asbestos forced students and staff out of one Philadelphia school earlier this month, and now alarming new findings will leave them in limbo for even longer.

The School District of Philadelphia says more asbestos, as well as flaking and peeling lead paint, were found in West Oak Lane's Building 21 school during additional inspections.

These inspections took place after asbestos was initially found in the schools stairwells and the auditorium on February 28.

Students were abruptly moved to remote learning with plans with continue the school year at a temporary Strawberry Mansion location, leaving parents and students very upset.

"It’s unsafe around here, so how do you expect us to come to Strawberry Mansion when we’re already unsafe at Building 21?" Building 21 senior Taylor Gatewood said.

RELATED COVERAGE: Students will learn remotely after asbestos discovered in West Oak Lane's Building 21 school

The future of the school year remains unclear after officials reveal flaking and peeling lead paint were found in several parts of the school March 7-13.

A day later, new samples also confirmed that plaster used for walls and above ceilings tiles does contain asbestos. Those areas were labeled as "No Asbestos Detected" in records from the 1990s, according to officials.

Work to repair asbestos-containing plaster began on March 17. However, the school district says inspections are ongoing, and it appears a timeline is still unclear.

"We know this is unwelcome news, and this lead and asbestos work will delay the return to the building. The District is working with leadership and the school community to develop options for a longer-term schooling solution. This includes exploring potential swing space alternatives so students, who have been attending school virtually, can return to an in-person learning experience."

RELATED COVERAGE: Less than 40 students show up for school after parents reject alternate plan for Building 21

The school district says they expect questions as these findings come to light.

"It is not clear why the Building 21 records from 1991 contradict recent sampling results. There are plausible explanations, but they would be conjectured at this point… Since the walls and ceiling had been documented as not containing asbestos, they had not been included in past AHERA inspections. However, they will be going forward."