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'Abundance Of Caution': Two More Philadelphia Elementary Schools Closed After Asbestos Found In Pipe Insulation

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Classes are canceled at two more Philadelphia schools due to asbestos concerns. The School District of Philadelphia has closed Carnell Elementary School in Oxford Circle and Alexander K. McClure Elementary School in Hunting Park.

Friday was the last day of school for students as Philadelphia schools reopen again on Jan. 2. However, crews are inside a school working to remove the asbestos.

School officials say workers discovered damage to the pipe insulation that contained asbestos inside both elementary schools.

At McClure Elementary School, asbestos was found in exposed pipes in a hallway while at Carnell Elementary School, it was found in a staff women's bathroom.

"There we found almost a dozen areas of asbestos damage throughout the building," environmentalist Jerry Roseman said.

Roseman, with the Philadelphia Teachers Federation, says he saw asbestos mostly in hallways and common areas.

"Those are areas with a lot of activity and a lack of control, especially elementary school kids and the damage to asbestos in those areas could be spread throughout the building," Roseman said.

Three Philadelphia schools have now closed this week for asbestos cleanup. Franklin Learning Center High School closed on Wednesday.

Parents and students in Philadelphia schools are weighing in.

"Very frightening because you know anything can happen," parent Daisy Coward said.

Students who attended Science Leadership Academy that closed in September also weighed in.

"It's heartbreaking because the school district doesn't care enough to make sure that we have a place to get our education and to make sure that we have somewhere safe to be," one student said, "and it's sad."

"This is our year. We're in the 11th grade so it's like -- it just got me off track a little bit," another student said.

Their new facility? The School District of Philadelphia's headquarters.

"We're calling the school district school, and I feel like that's just not OK," junior Saniyyiah Ray said. "Especially, like, because this is all in Philadelphia. This is a problem district-wide and we just want to know what's going to be happening."

School officials say crews will be able to remove asbestos, conduct testing and cleaning before the schools reopen in January.

School Asbestos
credit: Philadelphia School District

"The School District of Philadelphia's top priority remains to provide a healthy, safe and welcoming learning environment for all students and staff. The decision to close the school comes out of an abundance of caution," the district said in a statement.

However, some parents and teachers say that is not the case and these schools have been like this for a while.

Roseman doesn't see that happening either.

School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Dr. William Hite declined to speak with CBS3.

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