PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Two Philadelphia schools are closed following the discovery of asbestos. Students at Benjamin Franklin High School and the Science Leadership Academy remain out of the classroom after asbestos was discovered in the building.
Hundreds of students will miss at least two days of school as crews work to remove it.
Damaged insulation material in the campus boiler room and in the Science Leadership Academy commons area, which is currently under construction, were identified for having asbestos during a recent environmental safety walk-through.
The schools will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday for removal and testing.
They will reopen on Thursday, as long as tests come back clean.
"Part of our decision today was to air on the side of safety and to continue those tests to ensure that those particulars are not blowing around the school. The tests over the weekend indicated they are not but we wanted to have a more significant test using blowers and other things that would allow simulation as if the building was in use. And we wanted to air on the side of caution so we are going to test and abate while the school is closed for these two days," Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Dr. William Hite said.
Last month, the Philadelphia teachers' union called the asbestos problem a grave threat after a Meredith Elementary School teacher was diagnosed with cancer linked to asbestos.
Benjamin Franklin and Science Leadership Academy have been under construction, which was supposed to be finished by the start of the school year.
Damaged insulation material in the campus boiler room and in the Science Leadership Academy commons area were identified for having asbestos during a recent environmental safety walk-through.
Drexel University professor Dr. Arthur Frank has studied the impact of asbestos for decades.
"Asbestos is a material that ends up getting into your body, staying in your body, including your lungs and many other tissues literally for the rest of your life," Frank said.
City Council President Darrell Clarke, who represents the district, wants more funding.
"There's discussions, currently, with the General Assembly for coming up with some assistance," Clarke said.
Some students just want the problem resolved quickly.
"I just hope they get everything figured out because I don't want to come back to school and get sick," one student said.
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