After 150 people experienced skin and eye irritation following a weekend cheerleading competition in the Father Judge High School gym, school officials wanted to know what had happened.
While the cause of the widespread irritation has not been pinpointed, school officials have been reassured the building has no remaining contaminants. So they reopened the building Thursday, welcoming students back to class after a three-day closure.
“We’re very satisfied with the fact that we really feel that we are a safe school. And we took all the precautions we needed to take and went overboard on it,” said the Rev. Joe Campellone, president of the Catholic school in Northeast Philadelphia.
“All the precautions” included testing by the city’s departments of public health and homeland security, as well as furthe investigations by a private company. The entire school was scrubbed down before students and teachers were allowed to return.
However, the tests didn’t reveal what caused the eye and skin irritation that sent scores to area emergency rooms in the wee hours of Monday.
“No, they did not,” said Campellone. “And that’s what’s keeping me up at night…But at this point, we don’t (have and answer), and we may never have one.”
Campellone said Thursday students appeared relieved to be back, and parents seemed reassured by the school’s cautionary measures.