We recently posted a blog about substandard asbestos abatement work at the Lafayette Academy Charter School and, at a meeting with school officials and representatives from the Recovery School District (RSD) and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) on July 27th, it was evident that parents’ concerns over asbestos abatement continue due to the possible exposure to their children.
The first abatement was conducted from March through the summer of 2017. The LDEQ inspected the work and found many faults, including children walking the halls around the work area and “sticking their heads in” to see what was happening behind the improperly installed plastic sheeting. This work was supposed to be started in May after school was dismissed for the summer.
The second abatement began in May of this year. Again, LDEQ inspectors found issues with the removal process, including workers walking about the campus wearing the clothes and shoes they wore in contamination areas, thus spreading fibers wherever they walked. The plastic sheeting material was found with holes allowing asbestos to spread.
Concerns over asbestos abatement continue
The Choice Foundation, overseer of the academy, was informed on July 16th by the RSD that the abatement did not follow protocol once again. At that time, the school was closed until it is proven safe for students and faculty.
Meanwhile, school officials, as well as representatives from LDEQ and RSD, continue to claim there was no risk to children during the abatements of 2017 or 2018. They stress air quality tests were far below any dangerous levels.
The current abatement should be completed by mid-August, but students will not return until all buildings, contents, and grounds are declared safe which means they will be located at alternate locations throughout much or all of this coming school year.
Students from pre-K – 4th are expected to attend Paul Dunbar school this coming year.
The 5th – 8th grades are targeted to attend the historic McDonogh 35 building on Kerlerec Street. Parents see this as a possible extension of the problem as the McDonogh building is much older that the original uptown Lafayette Academy building and it also contains asbestos. This building is now also undergoing renovation and abatement to prepare for the new students. Though all areas are monitored each day for any sign of mishandling of asbestos-containing materials, confidence is low among parents. Construction on this building should be complete by August 13.
Parents were told the probability classes would resume in alternate locations by August 27 was “extremely high.”