Oakland Unified School District officials said Monday they hope to reopen McClymonds High School next week following a multi-day campus closure due to concerns of a toxic chemical in its air and groundwater.

The district closed McClymonds last week after the carcinogenic chemical compound trichloroethylene was found in the campus’ groundwater with the concern that it could have evaporated into its air. The school’s drinking water was unaffected, according to district officials.

Oakland Unified School District This specialized piece of equipment tests air samples for trichloroethylene (TCE) within minutes. It showed zero-percent levels of TCE at every location tested at McClymonds High School in Oakland, Calif. on Saturday, February 22, 2020.

McClymonds has been closed since Thursday morning and, according to the district, will remain closed for at least part of this week as well. Classes were canceled Monday in addition to last Thursday and Friday.

Oakland Unified spokesman John Sasaki said the roughly 350 students would be spread out to three other campuses in the coming days to ensure they can return to class by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Preliminary air sampling results from McClymonds have shown no signs of trichloroethylene, according to the district. State environmental health officials swarmed the school over the weekend to conduct air testing at roughly 50 locations around the campus, including every classroom. Final sampling results are expected later this week.

California Department of Toxic Substances Control engineer Cheryl Prowell said:

“We trust this data, but we view it as screening data.”

Daniel Olsen/Wikimedia Commons McClymonds High School in Oakland, Calif. closed Thursday, February 20, 2020 after trichloroethylene was detected in the school’s groundwater.

Prowell added:

“We really want to see the data from the analytical laboratory before we say with certainty, because the analytical laboratory is a certified method … We don’t have the same level of scrutiny on this field screening method.”

The district held a community meeting regarding the school’s closure at 8:30 a.m. Monday and plans to hold a second meeting at 5:30 p.m. Both meetings are located at the West Oakland Middle School library at 991 14th St.

District officials are also posting updates regarding the closure at ousd.org/mcclymondstce.

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