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Sandy Hill Elementary, BASC closed until Monday for 'unplanned maintenance'

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Posted at 11:21 PM, Dec 08, 2021

JENISON, Mich. — Sandy Hill Elementary and Sandy Hill BASC are closed until Monday, Dec. 13 for "unplanned maintenance."

Jenison Public Schools notified parents of the closure via social media Wednesday evening.

According to the district superintendent, Dr. Brandon Graham, construction contractors who were at Sandy Hill Elementary in preparation for upcoming building improvements discovered traces of vermiculite during a routine process and notified school officials about it.

Vermiculite is a mineral and while not a traditionally harmful substance on its own, can potentially contain asbestos, depending on where it was mined.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, asbestos has been linked to health issues like lung cancer and mesothelioma.

School officials say mitigation efforts began immediately and that specialists were brought in who verified the air quality is safe. However, they have decided to keep the school closed until Monday to provide crews full access to comprehensively remove, clean, and seal any existing sources of vermiculite.

In an email sent out to the district Wednesday evening, Dr. Graham issued a statement saying, "The safety and wellbeing of our students is the highest priority at JPS." He also added, "Sandy Hill Elementary, like all of our Jenison Public Schools, has been, and will continue to be, a safe environment for kids to learn and grow."

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