Plan to reunite Tisbury students unveiled

6
Students could all be back in Tisbury School by January under a plan described by Superintendent Matt D'Andrea. — Gabrielle Mannino

Updated

In a letter to Tisbury School parents Thursday, Superintendent Matt D’Andrea outlined what his plans are for reuniting students at the school as soon as possible. The letters are written in English and Portuguese.

Just two weeks before the school year was scheduled to open, school officials received reports that showed lead and asbestos issues at the school. The school year was delayed for a week and a decision was made to split the student body. Students in K-4 are still at Tisbury School, but are confined to a 1993 wing of the building, and students in grades 5-8 are at MVRHS in a wing isolated from other students.

The school district has consulted with state and federal regulators about the lead and asbestos at the school and has come up with a plan to remediate the issues, D’Andrea wrote. “With this in mind, the school administration has been working with our Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) to develop a plan to remove and encapsulate the peeling and chipping lead paint in the Tisbury School along with restoring the ventilation system,” the superintendent wrote. “Our goal at this time is to complete the work during the months of November and December, with the school being ready for students in January.”

The announcement comes just days before the Tuesday, Oct. 15, special town meeting where voters will be asked to approve nearly $2 million in emergency funds to deal with the issues at the school. 

“We will procure the services of a Lead-Safe Certified Contractor to complete the work. Initially, my intent was to move the students out of the building prior to completing any work. However, our OPM has previously utilized a work safety system to seal off the area in which the work is taking place and allow for students and staff to occupy the building,” D’Andrea wrote. “I have reached out to the EPA, the Department of Labor Standards, and the Department of Public Health to inquire about the effectiveness of this process. I have been assured that certified lead contractors are trained to utilize this method to keep building occupants safe while the work is completed. Furthermore, the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards Lead Enforcement Program will regularly visit the school to ensure that all safety standards are being followed, and an Environmental Hygienist will conduct testing on a daily basis to make certain that the school is safe for occupancy. We will request quotes for completing the work both during on and off school hours, Upon completion of the work, a final test will be conducted to ensure the renovated classrooms are ready for students.”

D’Andrea encouraged parents with questions to attend a forum scheduled tonight at 7 at Katharine Cornell Theater.

Updated to correct the grade levels and where they are located.