Asbestos risk closes Westland High classrooms – Otago Daily Times


Two technology rooms have been shut down at Westland High School due to an asbestos exposure risk.

Acting principal John Doonan said they were awaiting test results to confirm whether asbestos had been exposed on a desk in woodwork workshop.

The ancient desk, which had been in the metal workroom for many years, was being sanded down by the woodwork teacher who wanted to do it up, Mr Doonan said.
The school caretaker had raised the risk of asbestos soon after work started.

“When we realised that there was an asbestos risk, we closed off the wood workshop immediately, followed by the adjoining graphics classroom, store areas and office.”

Swabs had been taken in all areas and while the results were not yet back, Mr Doonan said they were taking all precautions.

“We just want to be on the safe side and we are not going to open up the classrooms until we get the okay.”

There were a number of protocols to follow and a specialist asbestos clean-up team was on standby.

In a letter home to technology students this week, the school said the clean-up would occur as soon as possible and would be done after school hours and over weekends.

“It is estimated that it will be three to four weeks before we are allowed to go back into the wood workshop.”

Mr Doonan said they expected to have the initial results back by the end of the week.

 – Janna Sherman of the Hokitika Guardian

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