Montclair, NJ – Over 200 students were evacuated from a New Jersey middle school last week after an inspection revealed the presence of asbestos in the building.
Inspectors from asbestos consultant Detail Associates discovered asbestos fiber levels exceeding the acceptable range in the third-floor hallway at Renaissance Middle School on Friday. The school has been closed and sealed off from the public since then while testing and removal work is being performed in the building.
The school district’s superintendent sent a letter to parents explaining that plaster may have been disturbed during work on the building’s new fire doors on Thursday. It also assured parents that the asbestos contractor would have the cleanup completed by Monday.
The asbestos cleanup is being overseen by the state Department of Environmental Protection. In the mean time, sixth and seventh grade students have been moved to a nearby elementary school to continue their classes while eighth grade students are currently attending classes at a nearby high school.
In a meeting between parents and school officials on Monday, some parents insisted that the inside of lockers be included as part of the cleanup process. The officials complied and the school was kept closed on Tuesday to have the work done.
A Detail Associates employee present at the Monday meeting confirmed that one of the test samples showed asbestos fibers levels over six times the acceptable levels.