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New York City remediates lead paint in more than 1,800 classrooms

Over the summer, the school system inspected more than 8,400 classrooms where children younger than 6 are assigned.

More than 1,800 classrooms in the New York City school system inspected earlier this summer needed lead paint remediation, officials say.

Chalkbeat New York reports that the school district says the remediation is completed and classes will be ready for students by the time classes resume later this week.

Of the 8,428 classrooms that were inspected over the summer, 1,858 needed remediation for peeling or deteriorated paint. 

The number of affected classrooms has led to criticism that the city's lead paint protocols were not strong enough. Officials say testing for lead paint now will be done in school common areas as well as classrooms.

The most recent remediation numbers reflect lead testing done for the first time in first-grade classrooms, in addition to the thousands of 3K, pre-K, kindergarten, and special education spaces. The inspections took place in buildings constructed before 1985. 

Inspections also included rooms that weren’t previously on a custodian’s radar, such as a fourth grade room that will now be used for kindergartners.

Although this is the first time New York City schools have made inspection information publicly available, officials assert that testing protocols have been in place for years. School custodians in older buildings are supposed to look for peeling paint in classrooms with children younger than 6 – considered the most at risk for ingesting lead paint in the form of chips or dust. If deteriorating paint is found, inspectors are brought in to test for lead, and if positive, the paint is remediated. 

The education department says it will require custodians to check classrooms at three points during the year, and the department will update information about inspection results online after those sweeps. 

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