FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2020
PHILADELPHIA–Carnell Elementary school, one of six Philadelphia schools shuttered by imminent asbestos hazards this school year alone, has undergone significant asbestos remediation efforts since its closure. Unfortunately, the School District failed to uphold an agreement made with the Federation regarding testing protocol. Thus, while the District has announced plans to open Carnell Elementary on Monday, our environmental team is unable to assure our members or the Carnell families that the school is safe for reopening.
While we are encouraged about the amount of work that has been completed, there was a joint testing agreement that has yet to occur. A minimum of 40 air samples must take place. Testing must be a representative sample using true best practices. Testing up to this point has been haphazard.
PFT Health & Welfare’s environmental team remains ready to act and engage in the joint testing plan as had been previously agreed upon by the District. Until such time as this agreement is upheld and PFTHW is able to analyze test results and participate in joint walkthroughs, Carnell must remain closed.
PFT President Jerry Jordan noted, “Because the District neglected to uphold an agreed upon joint testing protocol at Carnell Elementary and did not conduct the requisite number of samples following remediation work, I am unable to assure our members and the Carnell community that the school is safe for occupancy at this current time. It is incumbent upon the District to immediately engage with us in a scientifically verifiable representative sampling. Our members and the children we serve deserve to be working and learning each day in an environment free from imminent asbestos hazards.”
City Council Majority Leader Cherelle Parker (9th District) agreed, noting, “Before Carnell reopens, the District must complete the joint testing plan with the PFT and must verify the results. I am hopeful that within the next one to two days, these tests will be completed so that we will be able to assure our students, their parents, and our educators that their building is safe for occupancy.”
State Senator Tina Tartaglione (SD2) said, “Despite assurances from Dr. Hite and District staff that protocol regarding environmental hazards is improving, I am extremely alarmed by the situation at Carnell Elementary School. Until the proper testing protocols have been completed and verified by the PFT, the District must keep Carnell closed. I am distraught that my constituents have been out of school with no alternative location secured by the District, but I am unable to comfortably encourage the reopening of the school building until testing and proper cleaning is complete.”
Representative Jared Solomon (HD202) said, “I am encouraged by the amount of work that took place at Carnell, but want the agreed upon inspections to be completed. Our number one priority needs to be getting students into school. Moving forward we need to adopt a uniform protocol by which work is conducted and verified.”
“Until we can confirm with 100% certainty that the school is safe, we cannot allow our kids and teachers to go inside,” said Congressman Brendan F. Boyle (PA-02). “The School District needs to prioritize health and safety. Doctors have already deemed asbestos in the Philadelphia school buildings to be a significant contributing factor to illnesses and health concerns. I stand with PFT and call on the school to take the proper precautions to ensure we do not expose our students and educators to any harmful conditions.”
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