2 Franklin elementary schools to be closed for more environmental testing

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FRANKLIN, Ind. (WISH) — Students at two elementary schools will have an e-learning day Thursday after recent environmental testing led to a call for more testing, Franklin Community Schools announced Wednesday. 

Students in the district are scheduled to begin spring break at the end of classes Thursday. Students at Needham and Webb elementaries will have e-learning days on Thursday. All other Franklin students will attend classes as scheduled Thursday.

Franklin Schools officials said in July they would test air, water and soil in the area after data showed alarming levels of toxic chemicals in homes near the schools.

An Indianapolis-based environmental firm, EnviroForensics, first did testing in July on the grounds at Webb and Needham elementary schools. Both are on the city’s east side near Hillview Country Club. 

Last year, 14 homes and the two schools near the former Amphenol Corp. site were tested. Nearly half the homes were found to have dangerous levels of radon and a handful had high levels of trichloroethylene. TCE can cause cancer.

Robin Betts, who provides community and public relations for the district, posted this notice on the Franklin Community Schools website

As recommended by EnviroForensics, Franklin Community Schools requested a second round of sampling be conducted during the winter. Samples of air were taken from below the concrete floor at Needham Elementary and Webb Elementary and sent to a lab for analysis. FCS received preliminary results today.  The results in three out of seven samples at Webb Elementary and two out of 10 samples at Needham Elementary were above the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s (IDEM) screening levels.

Student and staff safety is our number one priority. Out of an abundance of caution, FCS will be implementing an E-Learning Day tomorrow, March 21st for Needham Elementary and Webb Elementary.  During spring break, EnviroForensics will be conducting additional sampling. FCS will provide an update on Thursday, March 28th.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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