By Jeanne Sager
NARROWSBURG May 28, 2002 Theyre on the move again.
The Sullivan West/Narrowsburg youngsters who have been studying for their end-of-the-year tests at a local church may be heading back into their classrooms as early as next week. But first, the district will be meeting with parents to address their concerns.
The students were removed last month when elevated lead levels were discovered in their rooms. The building is currently under construction as the district renovates its existing buildings.
According to Superintendent Michael Johndrow, the school has received requests to move the students back into the area from both teachers and parents.
The rooms have been cleaned and will be retested for lead levels, which since the incident last month, have been testing at normal levels.
At least 12 children from the rooms were tested at local doctor offices and clinics, and all came back with normal levels, Johndrow noted. And since the school offered to pay back parents without health insurance or who had a copay but wished to have their child tested, no one has asked for reimbursement.
I dont think any of them came back higher than a five, and between zero and 10 is normal, Johndrow noted. We never, ever felt the place was not safe for the kids.
According to local nurse practitioner Nan Eschenberg, elevated levels in a child could cause retardation or growth abnormalities. Lead is a concern in any building built before 1978 that is under renovation, she added, because there is very likely lead in the paint or in the building materials used in that time frame.
But testing between zero and 10 is normal, she noted.
Most kids will have a two, Eschenberg said, because its just really hard not to have anything.
What is important is that children have a high amount of calcium in their diet because that will help keep the lead out of their bones.
During Thursdays Sullivan West Board of Education meeting, Johndrow told concerned board members that the education has not been compromised for the students, but the move has made it difficult for teachers who do not have materials readily at hand.
District officials will meet with parents at the Narrowsburg campus Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. to review the classrooms and get the publics feel about moving children back into the rooms.
The results of the newest lead level tests are expected to be back by that time, Johndrow said, and parents will be given a tour of construction.