mitchell elementary

2 more Philadelphia schools closed after asbestos is uncovered

April 10, 2023
Frankford High and Mitchell Elementary had been cleared as "non-asbestos containing," but a more exhaustive review detected the dangerous substance.

Asbestos is forcing the Philadelphia district to close two more schools — one for the rest of the school year.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that plaster at Frankford High and Mitchell Elementary that had previously been cleared as “non-asbestos containing” actually does contain the toxin and is now damaged.

Frankford will shift to virtual instruction for at least the remainder of the week. Mitchell has more damage and will not reopen this school year. Classes have been canceled for Monday, and virtual instruction will start Tuesday. The school will reopen for in-person instruction later this month in a to-be-determined location.

Frankford, with more than 900 students was built in 1914; the damaged asbestos was discovered on the third floor. It’s not yet clear how long Frankford will need to be closed.

Mitchell has 339 students and was built in 1915; damage was found throughout the school.

Mitchell and Frankford are the second and third Philadelphia schools where incomplete or inaccurate recordkeeping meant that asbestos-containing plaster was labeled for decades as safe. Building 21, a high school, was closed March 1 and its students are learning virtually. 

Another school, Mastery Charter Simon Gratz High School, was closed for a week this year but has since reopened. 

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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