Bronzeville Catholic school reopens after high lead levels discovered

CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - A Bronzeville elementary school reopened Monday after high lead levels were discovered in part of the South Side building, and officials announced free lead screenings for students will be offered.

The newer section of Holy Angels Catholic School at 750 E. 40th St. reopened Monday. Officials discovered high lead levels in dust stirred up while a mechanical system was being repaired, Principal Siobhan Cafferty said this week in a letter to parents.

Officials will investigate and clean the school, but the older part of the building, where the high levels of lead were discovered, will remain closed until April 4, after spring break, Cafferty said.

“We are going to work through this together as a school community,” Cafferty said in the letter. “The safety and well-being of your children, as well as our faculty and staff, is our most important priority.”

Until then, classes will meet in the newer section of the building, where tests confirmed there is no lead and a properly-running mechanical system, Cafferty said.

Contractors and environmental engineers want to complete the basic cleanup of the older part of the building by March 25, followed by a cleanup and repainting of the gym over spring break, Cafferty sad.

The Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools met with city health officials Friday to coordinate resources and information for Holy Angels School parents and guardians. Health officials will provide an information session for families on Monday.

The Archdiocese will also work with St. Bernard Hospital to offer free lead screening at the school next week for students whose parents want them tested.

Last fall, nearby St. Elizabeth Catholic School was permanently closed because of high lead levels. Families were offered discounted tuition to enroll students at Holy Angels following the closing.