Hopkinson Elementary closed indefinitely for asbestos

francis hopkinson school
Francis Hopkinson School in Philadelphia.
Wikimedia Commons

Hopkinson Elementary school was closed indefinitely Friday after a significant asbestos problem was detected. The school is located at L and Luzerne Streets in Juniata.

Inquirer.com reports that students had been attending classes at different locations since last Wednesday. Monica Lewis told them that students will continue to be taught at temporary locations.

Lewis said that the school closing down will allow proper remediation of the asbestos problem, which is present in multiple locations throughout the building. The remediation will also allow for the school to prepare for a lead-paint stabilization project.

Lewis told Inquirer.com, “We’re just doing some work to make sure that the building is safe and up to par for the students and staff to return,”

Additionally, the district is investigating a claim about workers spreading asbestos while replacing ceiling tiles last summer. A teacher flagged the possible incident recently.

It was reported that the district originally said the school would reopen once the testing showed that air quality was safe.

The  Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) said that despite the district officials saying the school was safe to re-occupy, they wouldn’t agree to reopen it until the remediation work was complete.

The PFT president Jerry Jordan and National teachers’ union president Randi Weingarten stood outside the school, blasting the district according to Inquirer.com. They asked for local, state, and federal responses to the asbestos issues in the area.

The teacher’s union also has teams of 40 to 100 Laborers District Council workers ready to help handle hundreds of reports of asbestos.

There was a meeting on Thursday to discuss PFT plans, which reportedly went well.

Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. sent a letter to parents on Friday saying that staff and students will remain in temporary relocation spots. Inquirer.com reports that kindergarten through second graders will be sent to Hopkinson Little Schoolhouse, third to fifth graders will be sent to Roberto Clemente Middle, and sixth through eighth-graders will be sent to Grover Washington Middle School. The students will remain at these locations for four to six weeks.