Business as usual at Long River

PROSPECT — Long River Middle School has reopened completely, a month after the school was forced to close due to asbestos exposure.

As of Aug. 11, it was business as usual at the school.

“It was a difficult time for everybody, but we have moved past it and are moving ahead,” Region 16 Superintendent of Schools Tim James said.

In July workers removing carpet in the guidance office at Long River ripped up tile also and exposed asbestos. The work continued and the materials were improperly disposed of in a dumpster at the school.

The situation didn’t come to the attention of local officials until an anonymous message was left for Prospect Fire Marshal Keith Griffin.

Once officials learned of the situation, the school was closed and testing was conducted.
Non-friable asbestos was found in the tiles. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, non-friable means any material containing more than 1 percent asbestos that when dry, can’t be crumbled, pulverized or reduced to powder by hand pressure. The asbestos found was dry.

Multiple air quality tests since have all come back as “nondeductible,” or negative, for airborne asbestos.

Workers from Valley Flooring put down a self-leveling compound and new carpet tiles in the guidance office last week, James said. This work is meant to be a temporary solution, he said, to get through the coming school year. Once school is out next June a full abatement will be done, James said.

The plan was approved by the state Department of Health, James said. The work was also overseen by Facility Support Systems, the school district’s asbestos management consultants, he added.

Adults were allowed back in the school early last week. Students can now go back in as well.

Long River will be ready for the first day of school, Sept. 2, James said. Events leading up to opening day — including orientation Aug. 21 — will go on as planned, he added.

“Everything is going on as scheduled,” he said.