NO LONGER USED: A classroom at Seatoun School has asbestos cladding.
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Families in Seatoun have been told temporary classrooms used by pupils were clad in asbestos.
Seatoun School sent out a letter to parents alerting them asbestos had been identified by the Education Ministry in the cladding of two relocatable classrooms and a toilet block on the school grounds.
The temporary classrooms were used while recent building work was completed, but they have not been in use over the past month.
Seatoun School board chairwoman Sarah Bacon said they had been assured by the ministry that there was no health risk from the asbestos in the cladding, as it was sealed by paint.
“The main thing for us is the assurance that there is no health risk … The buildings are going to be relocated so I’m sure that people aren’t overly concerned as that assurance is unequivocal.”
Education Ministry policy manager Jerome Sheppard said the classrooms, which will be relocated to Ngaio, contained low levels of asbestos and should not cause any health problems.
“The ministry always works to ensure no student or member of staff is exposed to unsafe asbestos and follows building guidelines whenever handling the material.”
Ministry guidelines required buildings with asbestos to be removed if they had been disturbed, with financial assistance available for schools affected.
While the ministry conducted a nationwide survey in the 1980s to identify asbestos in school buildings, it was now up to schools to check buildings for hazardous materials, Mr Sheppard said.
“Schools are responsible for the health and safety of staff and students in their care. If a school discovers a potentially hazardous substance they should contact the ministry.”
Mr Sheppard could not confirm how the asbestos-clad classrooms were approved to be used by Seatoun School, but said school project managers and construction companies should be experienced with the process of identifying and managing hazardous substances like asbestos.
“The health and safety of staff and students is of paramount importance.”
The ministry was not intending to contact any other schools in Wellington regarding asbestos concerns in the near future.
– © Fairfax NZ News
So School Managers are now required to be certified in construction materials and identification of hazardous materials??? Silly me, I thought they were educators?