Screen grab via Ocean View School District website.
Screen grab via Ocean View School District website.

At least one Huntington Beach school will remain closed for a full asbestos abatement after tests showed showed a trace amount of the cancer-causing substance in two of its 50 rooms, authorities said Thursday.

Students and teachers at Lake View Elementary School will be moved to Westmont and Harbour View elementary schools while the abatement takes place, but no timetable was released by the Ocean View School District.

Over the weekend, an asbestos fiber was found on the campus of the district’s Hope View Elementary School, likely the result of upgrades that were done at the campus over the summer, prompting the closure of that school as well as Lake View and Oak View elementary schools for further testing, officials said.

“There was one fiber found on a wet-wipe sample on the top of a bookcase, possibly the result of a penetration in the ceiling,” Bruce Aule, a liaison for the Ocean View School District, told reporters Wednesday outside district headquarters, where parents gathered in hopes of learning more about the problem.

“The three schools that are of the greatest concern right now are Hope View, Oak View and Lake View, because they have a blown-on fire retardant that was done back in the ’60s, and that can deteriorate,” he said.

Some parents expressed outrage that they had not been notified about the original positive asbestos tests over the summer. They also questioned why classes were continuing at eight other district campuses where asbestos testing had not yet been done.

“Number one, the district apologizes,” Aule told the parents. “Number two, there is a huge action plan in place to get this all cleaned up.”

The district has also been investigating whether construction crews that worked on the schools over the summer were still removing asbestos from the buildings after students returned to the campuses in September.

It was unclear if Hope View and Oak View would be open on Friday.

“The district’s top priority is the health and safety of our students and staff — and we share the anxiety of our parents and employees,” according to a district statement. “We are working to define the scope and magnitude of the problem.

“At that time we can quickly implement an effective plan and resolve any potential health threats.”

City News Service

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