PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Carnell Elementary School, in Philadelphia’s Oxford Circle neighborhood, is expected to reopen Monday, Jan. 13, the School District of Philadelphia announced Friday afternoon. Students at the school haven’t been in class since before their Christmas break because of asbestos.
District officials say necessary repairs have been completed and testing will be conducted over the weekend to determine the school’s safety. If it passes, the school will reopen.
Asbestos-related problems have hit six Philadelphia schools this school year. Now, the community is coming together to make sure learning continues as lawmakers try to fix the problem.
“Sometimes I feel like going to school because I get bored at home and I like to learn,” 10-year-old Mawoena Morfiah said.
Mawoena is a fifth-grader at Carnell Elementary School. She hasn’t been in a classroom since before Christmas, when her school was closed because of asbestos.
But for the last two days, she and her classmates have gone to different museums in hopes of staying on top of their learning.
“Sometimes some things that I didn’t know that they didn’t teach yet at school, I can just learn by experimenting with other materials and learn,” Mawoena said.
On Friday, she learned new math skills at the Please Touch Museum. On Thursday, she and her classmates were at the Franklin Institute.
“While us adults try and figure out long-term sustainable plans for infrastructure investment in Philadelphia schools, we can’t penalize our kids each and every day,” Rep. Jared Solomon said.
The School District of Philadelphia says it needs $25 million a year for the next five years just to handle known cases of damages asbestos. Superintendent Dr. William Hite said Friday they’ve inspected every school for damaged asbestos.
He said while parents and teachers may want all asbestos removed, they’re going after the most dangerous situations first.
“Right now, we’re focused on the most critical areas and the areas that need to be repaired or need to be removed,” Hite said.
Meanwhile, city officials are pushing the school district to come up with a better plan for when the next asbestos-related issue comes up.
“Now that we have the attention and the spotlight on the issue, we should be on it and we should stay on it until we get the kind of results that we need for our children,” Philadelphia City Councilwoman Cindy Bass said.
Officials also say Alexander McClure Elementary School is expected to reopen on Wednesday, Jan. 15.
However, Hite said students from each of the six schools may have to make up missed school days.