South Suburban School Delays Start Of School Year Due To Asbestos, Does Not Explain To Parents

CHICAGO (CBS) — A south suburban school district put off the on-time start of classes for a few days, but did not fully explain to parents the reason why.

Country Club Hills School District 160 was supposed to begin the school year on Wednesday, but instead put it off because of, what it said was “unforeseen construction delays”.

Those delays involve the removal of asbestos.

According to Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold, a public health inspector found on Monday that asbestos removal was not being done properly in three classrooms at Southwood Middle School.

She said a ‘stop work’ order was issued until the licensed contractor correctly set up an asbestos containment area.

District 160 Supt. Sandra Thomas does say in the letter, found on the district website, that air quality tests need to be performed before classes can resume, but the letter does not mention asbestos removal.

WBBM attempted to get a response from Dr. Thomas.

school opening 2017  South Suburban School Delays Start Of School Year Due To Asbestos, Does Not Explain To Parents

Message from the Superintendent regarding school closing. (Credit: Country Club Hills School District 160)

The letter says, in part:

“I am writing to inform you that because of unforeseen construction delays we are going to have to postpone the start of school a few days.

“Unfortunately, as a result of several construction project delays and the need to complete air quality assessments, we have determined it is best that we delay the start of school this week to ensure that all upgrades are completed and we can ensure a safe return for our students.

“We will work with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the fire department to determine when the building will be safe for use. At this time, we anticipate that school will start next Monday, August 21.”

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