The Children’s Kiva Montessori School in Cortez, CO was temporarily closed because of “elevated levels” of asbestos, according to the school’s board of directors. Parents were notified on Tuesday, November 6 about the issue and that the school would be closed for the rest of the week over concerns with construction work being done.
“Preliminary results on the asbestos came back last night and showed elevated levels in two specific areas of our building currently under construction,” the board said Wednesday. “Test results for lead are still pending.”
The school board wasn’t sure how long the cleanup would take, noting that it could be anywhere from a week to several months. In the meantime, the email informed parents that officials were searching for a facility that could hold the students in the meantime.
According to Alexia Hudson-McGrath, the school’s interim head, the test results came as a surprise, though school administrators were aware that asbestos was present in the building, the former Montezuma County Justice Building before it was purchased. In order to remove the hazardous materials, construction was to be completed in phases. The first phase was supposed to be over by the beginning of October and the second by the end of March. Former Head of School Susan Likes resigned after grievances were sent to the school board partly over concerns about her updates on the construction projects.
Hudson-McGrath noted that the school would never have allowed teachers and students to use the building if they were aware of the asbestos issue at the time.
“When the board elected to move those students into those classrooms, they did so in good faith,” Hudson-McGrath told The Journal during a phone call Thursday.
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