Cleanup at Coolidge

By Kelly McCarthy

August 19, 2013 Updated Aug 19, 2013 at 9:19 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Asbestos cleanup is underway at Calvin Coolidge Elementary School. The school has been temporarily closed since Aug. 7 after tests showed high asbestos levels in several areas of the building.

A meeting was held Monday afternoon for faculty and staff only.

Teachers were told that anything inside the school that is not a hard surface will have to be replaced. All carpets and ceiling tiles will be replaced as a precaution, while things such as paperwork, books and decorations will be destroyed.

The district will be working with the staff members on getting reimbursed for supplies and getting replacements as soon as possible.

"For the other supplies that they usually get off of what we call a bid deck," said Assistant Superintendent Karry Mullins, "We'll be looking to provide them with a purchase order to a local Target or Wal-Mart so they can get what they need to start the start of the school year."

Many staff members are concerned about replacing their classroom supplies they just purchased for this school year.

"Just to kind of start a fresh new start this year," said Valerie Degenarro, special education teacher, "I kind of went with the whole 'keep-calm-carry-on' theme, which is kind of ironic with what we're going through, but I'm keeping that in mind and using that to kind of help my fellow colleagues keep calm and carry on in this situation we're going through."

Some worries go beyond simply paper and supplies.

"We have immediate concerns, you know supplies, logistics, location," said Patti Fiato, first grade teacher. "How our students will transition and feel comfortable because that's really important. But also long term health and safety concerns."

There are roughly 325 students in kindergarten through fifth grade attending Calvin Coolidge Elementary, and 60 faculty and staff members.

The next public meeting will be for parents and guardians of students at 6 p.m.,Thursday at the Columbus School in the community room on the third floor.

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