Asbestos in Schools

In Englewood, NJ, students have had their summer holiday lengthened by a week after asbestos was found during construction on the Cleveland School. This caused a delay in work from the unanticipated abatement and control of the asbestos. District officials prudently decided to delay the start of school by a week in order for workers to complete the asbestos abatement and classroom construction phases of the project. Renovations to the school begun over the summer included converting the gymnasium into an auditorium, putting boilers and ventilators in classrooms and bathrooms, and adding a new media center to the school. Students will return to the finished classrooms, but other areas will continue undergoing construction.

To compensate for the school days missed because of the construction delay, the February vacation will be shorter. In Lufkin, TX, asbestos flooring is finally being removed as part of renovations on several schools. One of these schools, Trout Elementary, will receive new flooring as the breezeways are remodeled. Officials with Lufkin Independent School District have known about the flooring tiles containing asbestos, but they did not believe that any danger was posed. The funding came from a November 2007 bond passed to renovate the breezeways, and the district used money from the bond to pay for the needed tile removal to prevent hazards in the future. The tile removal will be finished when teachers return before classes, but the new flooring has yet to be laid in all of the rooms. Some classrooms will begin the school year with concrete floor bases, but the toxic asbestos tiles are no longer in place. Thus far, over 60 classrooms have completed renovations and been laid with the new asbestos-free flooring. The others should be done throughout the school year.