McClure Elementary School Closed Friday After Asbestos Air Quality Tests Indicate Need For Additional Cleaning

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – McClure Elementary School will be closed Friday for additional cleaning. School district officials say two air samples for asbestos came back slightly elevated after testing was done on Thursday night.

“McClure will remain closed today for additional cleaning and further testing to ensure student and staff safety,” the School District of Philadelphia said in a statement.

“Indeed, overnight test results that came back this morning yielded elevated levels of asbestos, indicating that our concerns and outrage were absolutely warranted,” Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry T. Jordan said. “Our recommendations are borne out of decades of experience. Our Director of Environmental Science has been one of the preeminent experts in his field for decades. Our recommendations yesterday were not made out of an overabundance of caution. They were made based on science.”

This comes as members of the Philadelphia teachers’ union plan to hold a rally Friday morning at McClure Elementary School. They say the school is unsafe after recent testing showed “alarming” levels of asbestos.

A union scientist who conducted the testing on Tuesday says the district failed to seal a contaminated attic, leading to elevated asbestos levels in the air.

The union plans to file a lawsuit.

Students and staff returned to school on Monday for the first time in three weeks because of the toxic material.

In a prior statement, the district says the union agreed on the testing protocol used, adding that it is “unclear as to why the union continues to raise questions.”

You can read the full statement issued by the teachers’ union here.