While many facilities are hurting due to the closures resulting from COVID-19, some took advantage of this downtime. Namely, school districts have been using this extended vacancy to overhaul a vitally important and long overdue service: asbestos abatement. To this day, asbestos is still a problem in many schools across the country, and districts are acting to better protect students. While the virus is a danger in and of itself, the COVID-19 closures are facilitating asbestos abatement in schools to increase the safety of school children.
How Has COVID-19 Impacted Asbestos Abatement Companies?
While an updated asbestos review has been delayed by the EPA as a result of COVID-19, asbestos abatement initiatives have been accelerated. Most businesses had been forced to close as a result of the pandemic, but asbestos abatement is considered an essential business and not only remained open but became even busier. Furthermore, while there is a concern over the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), asbestos abatement teams use far more complex respiratory gear than medical N95 masks, so there is no crossover of shortages.
How are Schools Taking Advantage of the COVID-19 Closures?
Since the asbestos abatement process can be extensive– as demonstrated in our review of McClure Elementary School – educational institutes are currently enlisting the help of asbestos abatement teams to allow for more careful extraction and remediation. In particular, asbestos abatement at schools has very strict protocols and is generally more time-consuming. Therefore, institutes are using the absence of students to adhere to the requirements of federal regulations and execute the actions outlined in the AHERA Guidelines for schools.
Why Is There Still Asbestos in Schools?
In 1999 – the most recent statistics available – the average age of schools in the U.S. was 42 years, with half being built between 1950 and 1969, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Given that asbestos was used in construction up until the 1980s, that leaves many schools in the range when asbestos was heavily utilized. The Environment Protective Agency estimates asbestos-containing materials are present in a majority of U.S. school facilities.
With COVID-19 closures facilitating asbestos abatement in schools, asbestos abatement companies have their hands full. However, it’s a welcome opportunity, given the ability to further preserve the health of school children. At Fiber Control, Inc., not only do we have the licensing and experience to safely perform asbestos abatement in schools, but we also handle other hazardous materials that plague our school systems, such as mold and lead. To get started on a consultation or schedule an inspection, contact us today.