PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Frankford High School, which has been closed to in-person learning for weeks because of asbestos and environmental concerns, is likely to remain closed next school year.
KYW Newsradio has obtained the letter from the School District of Philadelphia's chief operating officer Oz Hill to the Frankford High School community. In it Hill says the district expects the school building will remain closed through next year for asbestos remediation, environmental repairs, HVAC system upgrades, and other repairs needed throughout the facility.
Last month, the school closed for the remainder of the 2022-2023 school year after asbestos was detected in the building. Students have been learning virtually since.
Hill says the district is working with the school’s principal to identify and prepare a viable space for Frankford students for in-person learning, making sure to take into consideration proximity to the school, community safety, breakfast and lunch services, environmental conditions and the desire to keep everyone together either in one building or on the same campus.
“Frankford, we know this is disappointing news. We are working diligently to provide a safe and healthy environment for the school community, and we will keep you updated along the way with important information,” Hill said.
Given the number of people who were in the school, their movement in the building, and the invisibility of airborne fibers, Hill says there is no way to accurately calculate potential exposure to asbestos. Hill says the presence of asbestos materials itself is not a risk. He does however, say if there are concerns to contact health care providers.
This year, six Philadelphia schools closed because of asbestos findings.
Four district schools:
— Building 21 in West Oak Lane — reopened
— C.W. Henry School in Mount Airy — reopened
— Frankford High School in the Northeast
— Mitchell Elementary
Two charter schools:
— Simon Gratz Mastery Charter — reopened
— Universal Vare Charter School