FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield’s Osborn Hill School will open as scheduled next Thursday, Superintendent David Title and Principal Frank Arnone announced Friday. The Stillson Road elementary school’s classrooms and hallways will be cleared of PCBs to federal standards by the first day of school.
Polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, were found in Osborn Hill during preliminary tests for a proposed window replacement project earlier this summer. The levels in some areas of the school, most notably the gymnasium, were above the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for safety in schools. The town has been working to clean classrooms since the discovery.
All but two classrooms will be ready to house students when the school year starts, Title and Arnone said in a letter to parents. Two kindergarten classrooms are not yet cleaned, and students will use the school’s art room and math room for the beginning of the school year.
Some common areas will be closed at the beginning of the year as well. The gymnasium, home to the highest concentrations of PCBs, is sealed off and will take the longest to clean. The Library Media Center and main hallway bathrooms are also inaccessible now, but will be cleaned within a few weeks. For now the school’s library will operate via a traveling cart.
State and local Health Department officials have assured parents that the health risks from PCBs are minimal, even at the levels before cleaning. More information on the cleaning process and the reopening of school is available at the Fairfield Public Schools website.