School District Statement Re: Environmental Safety at McClure
PHILADELPHIA — The School District of Philadelphia has issued the following statement regarding environmental safety at Alexander McClure Elementary School:
“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our students and staff. Our commitment to this guiding principle is evident by our actions — in closing schools, sealing off areas of concern, expanding our capacity to address immediate safety hazards and conducting additional testing going above and beyond what is required by law. The School District of Philadelphia is not interested in politics; we are invested in educating our students in safe learning environments so that they read on grade level, are prepared for college and career, and are ready to become the next generation of leaders of this city.
Since November the District has been working with the PFT to finalize a document outlining processes and protocols. We have also been waiting since November for the PFT to suggest edits and sign off on the proposal. We eagerly await the PFT’s approval so that agreed-upon procedures are in place moving forward.
Last evening’s testing (January 16) conducted at McClure, in conjunction with both the District and the PFT, exceeds what is required by law. The testing was also aggressive; technicians used leaf blowers to stir up the air which exceeds recommendations typical for diagnostic school testing. Of the twenty samples collected, two were slightly elevated, but still within acceptable limits designated by EPA and AHERA standards. One additional sample was above the EPA and AHERA clearance standards. The decision to close McClure today was made so that the District and PFT could work together to thoroughly clean the third floor and the City Year office — work that was already scheduled to be completed this weekend. The cleaning will include HEPA vacuuming and wet wiping all surfaces. A visual inspection of the areas and additional air sampling will be performed before the school reopens.
The District worked with PFT to ensure the building was safe for re-occupancy when students and staff returned on January 15, with both parties agreeing to reopen. And we will continue to work with the PFT as we move forward. We are committed to meeting all safety standards, even aggressive ones exceeding legal requirements. And we look forward to welcoming students and staff back to McClure once cleaning is complete so that they can return to teaching and learning.”