Henry Elementary school in Philadelphia to close due to asbestos; 5th one to close due to hazards

The school will be closed on Monday and will then shift to virtual learning for at least through May 5.

school building

C.W. Henry Elementary School in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. (6abc)

This story originally appeared on 6abc.

Another Philadelphia school is closing due to asbestos issues.

Officials say asbestos was discovered above ceiling tiles on the first floor at the C.W. Henry Elementary School in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia.

The school will be closed on Monday and will shift to virtual learning on Tuesday for at least through May 5, according to an email from the school’s principal sent on Saturday.

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Officials also stated that on Monday, families will be able to pick up meals and Chromebooks from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Henry H. Houston school, located at 7300 Rural Lane.

For the remainder of the virtual learning period, meals will be available for pickup from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, officials added.

This is the fifth Philadelphia school to close because of environmental hazards this school year, officials say.

Building 21, Frankford High School and Mitchell Elementary are still closed due to asbestos.

Mastery Simon Gratz Charter High School, whose building is owned by the district, was closed and reopened in March due to the same issue.

The closure is particularly personal to school board president Reginald Streater, whose children attend Henry, officials say.

Streater, in a statement, said the closure underscores the need to “continue to put our collective arms around all things school district.”

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) released a statement saying in part:

“These closures, while necessary in the wake of the discovery of toxic damaged asbestos, are deeply disruptive. Students, families, and educators are left to pick up the pieces of a system of disinvestment. Parents have to make arrangements quickly, and staff has to figure out how and where they will be teaching while work takes place.

“For years, the PFT has championed the fight for healthy schools, and we have worked tirelessly to advocate for safe facilities for students and staff. Our advocacy has led to major policy changes and increased awareness of this crisis. We have consistently been at the forefront of the push for transparency and swift action.

“I greatly appreciate the new administration’s commitment to transparency and to taking swift action as problems are uncovered-a marked difference from the prior administration. But we need a clear action plan for moving forward. Additionally, it is essential that the state legislature move forward with substantive plans to invest in public education, including facilities investments. This includes spending funding from its growing ‘rainy day fund’ when it’s quite literally raining in our schools.”

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