PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s home, at least for now, for Ben Franklin High School students. They received a warm welcome as they filed into the former Khepera Charter School on Monday.
Parents and their children were relieved to return to some sense of normalcy.
“I want to be in school learning something interesting,” freshman Abdellah Krebs said.
“I’m glad they’re back,” parent Terry Johnson said. “All she’s been talking about is getting back.”
“Welcome Ben Franklin Students” sign posted outside old Khepera Charter School building. This will be home for these students and staff for at least the next few months, according to district officials. pic.twitter.com/dCA5bBXffX
— Crystal Cranmore (@CrystalCranmore) October 14, 2019
Students and staff at the shared Ben Franklin High School and Science Leadership Academy campus were forced out of school for more than a week due to asbestos concerns.
The discovery of the toxic material in late September came as the Philadelphia School District worked on a $37 million upgrade to the site.
For now, Science Leadership Academy students will have classes at school district headquarters and the Rodeph Shalom synagogue.
“Learning hasn’t stopped, students are still using virtual learning,” school district spokesperson Megan Lello said.
District leaders say the temporary relocation plan was developed with the students’ commute in mind.
“Many students are using the Broad Street Line,” Lello explained. “That’s one of the reasons the task force identified this site.”
It was a smooth transition for some parents of Ben Franklin students, but they feel it shouldn’t have happened at the start of the school year.
“They knew these renovations were taking place quite some time ago and you had all summer and everything, so I don’t understand exactly what happened,” Gloria Abney said.
While students worry about making up classes, the school district has apologized for underestimating construction plans.
“We wanted to work quickly to make this right,” Lello said.
District officials say they hope to have the students back in their shared building in Spring Garden after the winter break.