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2 Philadelphia schools remain closed during asbestos removal

By Wakisha Bailey,

2023-03-14

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Schools remain closed after damaged asbestos found in buildings 02:32

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A report on the work to remove asbestos at two Philadelphia schools is expected on Tuesday.

As of now, two Philadelphia schools are closed due to asbestos impacting hundreds of students. City officials say this has been a problem for years and the issue has not been dealt with. Now they want the school district held accountable.

On Monday, members of the Philadelphia City Council and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers held a press conference demanding the district act fast in rectifying the asbestos issues that closed two schools.

The first is Building 21 in West Oak Lane. Earlier this month, those students were transferred to Strawberry Mansion with the option to take virtual classes. The district's environmental services team found damaged asbestos dating back two years.

And the second school was Simon Gratz High School, a charter school operated by Mastery located in a building owned by the district. That school was shut down Thursday and Friday due to asbestos findings.

Those students were supposed to return to school Tuesday, but inspections were not cleared.

Meanwhile, city leaders say the school district has ignored previous reports and now it's impacting students.

A 2017 report estimated the cost to repair, upgrade and modernize the school facilities at $4.5 billion.

"Yesterday, today and every day moving forward, we are relentlessly focused on ensuring real solutions to a crisis that simply cannot stand," an official said.

Students at Mastery Charter Gratz Prep Middle School were able to return back to their building Monday after it was shut down for several days due to asbestos.

The school district is expected to give families an update on Building 21 and Simon Gratz High School on Tuesday.

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