Education

Ohio Middle School With Radioactive Material Detected Will Be Closed For The Next Year: Officials

SHUTTERSTOCK/ Zoltan Acs

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Neetu Chandak Education and Politics Reporter

An Ohio middle school will be closed for the upcoming academic year as a precautionary measure to keep kids safe after radioactive material was detected at the site, officials said.

Scioto Valley Local School District Board President Brandon Wooldridge said Zahn’s Corner Middle School will be closed for the 2019-2020 academic year May 23, Pike County Health Commissioner Matt Brewster told The Daily Caller News Foundation on Thursday.

Fourth- and fifth-grade students will be housed in an elementary school in the district while sixth graders will attend classes in a high school, Brewster continued. The district has a total of three buildings.

“In a school district the size of Scioto Valley, enrollment is crucial to funding,” Brewster said. “If even 10 students were sent to another district that loss of funding would [be] detrimental to the school district.”

The middle school, which serves more than 300 students, had to close before the end of the 2018-2019 school year after enriched uranium and Neptunium 327 were detected in and around the site. (RELATED: Middle School Closes After Officials Find Radioactive Material. Hundreds Of Students Sent Home)

“No enriched uranium was identified in any of the air samples taken by the Department of Energy at this school,” Department of Energy principal deputy press secretary Kelly Love previously told TheDCNF.

The middle school is several miles away from the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant, The Associated Press reported. The Pike County, Ohio, plant used to produce enriched uranium for nuclear reactors and the U.S. nuclear weapons program between 1954 and 2001.

Pictured is a sign conveying radioactivity. SHUTTERSTOCK/Andrei Burylov

Pictured is a sign conveying radioactivity. SHUTTERSTOCK/Andrei Burylov

Brewster said the health district will submit its suggestion on who will conduct third-party testing Friday, NBC 4 reported.

Department of Energy press secretary Shaylyn Hynes told TheDCNF on Thursday that state and national officials collected 44 surface samples from the school along with air samples from in and outside the site.

“It is our hope that this thorough analysis and transparent process will give the community more clarity than the Northern Arizona University report that prompted the closure of the school, which was based on just 6 samples,” Hynes said.

Northern Arizona University’s recent report found enriched uranium inside the school along with plutonium, uranium and neptunium in water and dust samples collected from the community, Fox News reported.

Scioto Valley Local School District did not immediately respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

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