BY MARK HALLUM
The city Department of Education hopes
to put controversy behind them with the
announcement that major lead paint
remediation has been completed ahead
of the first day of school.
Embattled Schools Chancellor
Richard Carranza announced Wednesday that all
classrooms serving 3-K, Pre-K, kindergarten and first
grade students are now in good standing as children
head back to class for the fall session.
The DOE made a sweep of about 8,438 to
ensure there was no lead hazard on top of
City completes lead
paint remediation across
thousands of classrooms
the 1,860 known to have contamination, the
“Our schools are safe and this summer we’ve
successfully remediated all impacted classrooms
in time for the first day,” Carranza said. “We’re
looking forward to a successful start of the year,
and we’re taking the next step in enhancing our
protocols by inspecting, testing and remediating
cafeterias and libraries serving kids under six in
the next year.”
An investigation by the department followed another
from WNYC/Gothamist which found lead in four
schools as well as dust with lead levels up to 100
times greater than the city standard.
22 SEPTEMBER 2019 I LIC COURIER I www.qns.com
ahead of first day
In early August the DOE released data from an
investigation that showed over 900 classrooms across
the city were coated with lead paint.
If the department’s claims are true, remediations
took just over a month.
Lead paint was banned in 1960 in the city, but the
DOE plans to continue their investigation into any
rooms built or painted as early as 1985, according
to the agency.
“The SCA will continue to work collaboratively with
the DOE to inspect and remediate classrooms and
other common spaces to ensure we are providing a
safe and comfortable learning environment,” School
Construction Authority President Lorraine Grillo said.
“This is a task that we do not take lightly and is part
of our unwavering commitment to improve the school
buildings and facilities that the city’s children need
With children under six being the most susceptible
to lead poisoning, which can affect the central nervous
system and neurological function, classrooms serving
children under 6 took priority.
The DOE plans to expand inspections to rooms for
first-graders and has set up an online database for the
public to learn about known health risks.
The agency has also set up a portal where possible
hazards in schools can be reported.
At the start of the 2020-21 school year, the DOE
plans to begin remediation of not only classrooms,
but of cafeterias and libraries used by at-risk groups
Meanwhile, custodians are expected to carry out
their usual tasks of inspecting for peeling paint and
repainting 20 percent of the school each year.
Photo via Getty Images