A Missouri school will be shut down indefinitely after high levels of radioactive waste were reported, school officials announced on Tuesday.
Jana Elementary School, located in Florissant near St. Louis, made the decision following a report last week by Boston Chemical Data Corp.
“Hazelwood School District’s top priority is providing a safe environment, free from distractions and disruptions, in which we can educate our children and in which our staff can work,” the district said in a statement on Wednesday.
The school district revealed that Jana Elementary will switch to virtual instruction for the remainder of the semester and “will review redistricting options to be put in place prior to the second semester of the 2022/2023 school year, with a target of November 28 for students and staff to report to redistricted schools, if feasible.”
In mid-November, parents and staff will receive notifications regarding new school assignments, according to the statement. Students and staff are expected to start in their new locations on November 28.
The school district apologized to those impacted by the changes, noting that it plans to provide support during the transition.
“To the students, staff and parents of the Jana School Community—We recognize that you are being faced with a situation not created by anyone in this District, over which you have no control, and that this is causing a disruption to our students’ education and school climate. For that we sincerely apologize,” the district’s statement read. “Please know that Hazelwood School District will work hand-in-hand with you to provide the support that is needed as we transition through these very difficult times.”
Radioactive waste from World War II production as part of the Manhattan Project contaminated Coldwater Creek, according to the study. Mallinckrodt Chemical Co. processed uranium ore in St. Louis from 1942 to 1957 and shipped waste to a site that flowed along the 19-mile creek near the Missouri River.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated the creek as a Superfund site in 1989, though contamination removal is not scheduled for completion until 2038.
The Daily Wire previously reported that Boston Chemical Data Corp. had published a report that found samples taken in August of “dangerous” alpha-radiation levels emitting co-mingled amounts of radium and thorium on the elementary school site. Samples included classrooms, the kitchen, and the library, in addition to outside fields and playgrounds.
“Radiological contamination in and around Coldwater Creek, prior to remediation activities, could have increased the risk of some types of cancer in people who played or lived there,” according to the report.
The school, with an enrollment of approximately 400 students, has been open since the 1970s, with thousands of young children and staff potentially exposed to radioactive waste.