Mayor: Braintree High School will be open on Thursday for first day of school

BRAINTREE, Mass. — Braintree High School will be open on Thursday for the first day of school at the high school after a broken water pipe and asbestos issues pushed back the opening, the mayor said Wednesday.

All tests are complete and clear, Braintree Mayor Charles Kokoros told Boston 25 News.

Last Tuesday, a broken water pipe resulted in school being pushed back to Wednesday of this week, then, an asbestos problem led the district to abruptly close school. Parents were not notified until 9 p.m. Tuesday night.

In a statement earlier to families, the district said the following:

“With apologies for the late notice, BHS must close tomorrow, Wednesday, September 8th, to complete mandatory asbestos testing as a result of some asbestos flooring being disturbed during cleaning and moisture mitigation being done on first floor. This is a Department of Environmental Protection requirement, and we will be complying to ensure the safety of all students and staff. We will provide additional information during the day tomorrow about the reopening of school and the schedule that will be followed. This information only became available at this late hour, and we understand the frustration and disappointment this message will elicit.”

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used in construction for decades because of its resistance to heat, fire, and chemicals, but it can lead to severe health problems for people who come in contact with disturbed particles, according to the Department of Environmental Protection. If inhaled, asbestos can lead to cancer, Mesothelioma, and Asbestosis, according to DEP.

In Braintree, across public and private schools, a total of 12 have asbestos present, it is unknown if seven others do or do not, according to state records.

Schools must be reinspected every three years per federal law. Administration and enforcement of inspections are handled by the state Department of Labor.

Interim Superintendent Jim Lee told Boston 25 Wednesday morning:

“The asbestos issue related to some tiles that were removed by a subcontractor which contained asbestos. Our building is over 50 years old and much of the floor tile and mastic contain asbestos. There was no one injured or sent to the hospital related to the issue. DEP regulations require testing to be done when asbestos is not properly removed, and we are following their guidelines. We hope to have the testing completed this morning and school up and operational tomorrow.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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