Silver Creek Elemtary School (File photo).

Asbestos risk at Silver Creek Elementary contained

Small section of asbestos in drywall cut, measures in place to prevent further issues

A small area of drywall containing asbestos was cut with a knife recently at Silver Creek Elementary, exposing a potential health risk.

School District #83 issued a news release March 8, reporting the drywall mud containing asbestos was cut with a utility knife during construction.

“Ensuring our students have a safe and caring learning environment is always our top priority. School District 83 takes full responsibility for the administrative oversight that led to this event, and will be taking immediate steps to prevent issues of this nature from occurring in the future,” said Superintendent and CEO Peter Jory.

Jory explained the issue arose on Feb. 20, during the construction of a new server closet. The area was cordoned off by tape, the drywall was cleaned up as per the usual processes, and a walled section was installed to prevent access by students.

Read more: Shuswap homes built before 1990 may contain asbestos in drywall

It was discovered Thursday, March 7 that the drywall mud, which had been previously used in the wall, measured between the previous standard of one per cent asbestos and the current (2012) standard of 0.5 per cent asbestos.

“As soon as the problem was discovered, our operations department responded immediately and followed our safety protocols to bring in the experts needed to remediate the problem and ensure our school was safe for students and staff,” Jory said.

The area was immediately sealed and re-cleaned, and a qualified air tester was brought in to test the air quality of that space and the adjacent spaces.

Read more: Asbestos concerns stop recycling of drywall

These tests all came back negative and the site was deemed safe for occupation by students, staff and the community prior to bell time Friday, March 8.

The school district has been in contact with the Health Protection Branch at Interior Health, and a public meeting will be held at the school next week as a means to address any further questions that may arise from this announcement.

A full WorkSafe investigation has also been initiated. More immediate questions can be directed to Veronica Deacon, executive assistant to the secretary-treasurer:


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