By Trang Do

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Alexander K. McClure Elementary School in Philadelphia’s Hunting Park neighborhood is reopening after officials closed the school due to asbestos, but they say the building is now safe. Students at McClure have been out of class for almost four weeks now.

After extensive abatement work and testing, grades K through fifth will return to a building the district says is much safer than it was before.

McClure has been closed since Dec. 20 after an inspection of the building uncovered damage to asbestos-containing pipe insulation. The district says its abatement team completed repairs and removal and tests conducted side by side with the teachers’ union show the school is safe for students and staff to return.

Earlier this month, Eyewitness News spoke to District of Philadelphia Superintendent Dr. William Hite about the ongoing issue of asbestos in the city’s school buildings.

“Asbestos is something that was in every building built before 1978, that’s the vast majority of our buildings,” Hite said. “Our goal and our job is to ensure that even if asbestos or lead is in these buildings, that it’s not in disrepair and that it’s not presenting a hazard and that’s what we’re doing.”

While the majority of students are expected in school today, Pre-K students will return on Tuesday.