State education officials said Tuesday they were shutting the campus of Einstein Charter School on Cannes Street in New Orleans East because of potential asbestos contamination at the site. The school will remain closed for at least the next two days while environmental testing continues.
Patrick Dobard, head of the state’s Recovery School District, said the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality received an anonymous tip last month that a contractor that refurbished the building last year had improperly disposed of some contaminated ceiling tiles.
Dobard said the air quality in the building was tested last year before it was cleared for students. But after the anonymous tip, more testing showed signs of asbestos on hard surfaces at the school.
Officials said they won’t know if the asbestos actually poses any health hazard until more testing this week shows whether it is present in the air at certain concentrations. Dobard said they were shutting the school out of “an abundance of caution.”
He said the RSD was notified about asbestos on hard surfaces in a letter from DEQ Monday evening, and that officials notified parents a few hours later.
He said the contractor in question, Dynamic Constructors LLC, is no longer working at the school or at any other RSD-controlled facilities. The company is, however, still doing work at Lusher Charter School’s elementary campus, officials said.
Attempts to reach the company for comment on Tuesday were not immediately successful.