FLORISSANT, Mo. – An elementary school in Florissant where radioactive contamination was found will close and students will start virtual learning soon.
The decision about Jana Elementary School, in the Hazelwood School District, came from district leaders.
Virtual learning for the students there will start next Monday for the rest of the current semester, with teachers being at an alternate site. School district officials also explained that students will then be moved to new schools in January.
Lots of parents were still dropping their kids off for class at Jana earlier Wednesday morning.
We understand Jana Elementary will be open Wednesday and Thursday, then the kids have a day off on Friday before going virtual on Monday. We are also told that two preschool classes there will continue to be taught in-person, but at a different school building.
Emotions ran high at a packed Hazelwood School District Board meeting Wednesday night about the situation at Jana. Concerned parents demanding answers and action from district leaders.
The school is right next to Coldwater Creek, which was contaminated by nuclear waste from weapons produced during World War II.
The Army Corps of Engineers has been cleaning up the creek for more than 20 years, but concerns about radioactive contamination at Jana Elementary increased after flooding from Coldwater Creek back in July.
A company called Boston Chemical Data Corp took samples in August from Jana’s library, kitchen, classrooms, fields and playgrounds. The report found radioactive contamination at the school at much higher levels than were expected.
We spoke with a family Wednesday morning who has two kids at Jana about dealing with the situation.
“It’s awful,” Lyndsey Ridley shared. “I cried the entire night because I don’t know, am I going to have to literally take all my finances out and pay for my kid to go to private school because that way he can actually learn instead of doing it at home where he can’t learn. Where I have a two-year-old too, it’s just not, it’s not doable.”
Her husband, John Ridley, added, “my kids are basically being ripped from their school, ripped from their friends, we don’t know if they’re going to, you know? See their friends again at another school, or what the case might be there. It’s just a matter of we don’t know what we’re doing moving forward.
Families like the Ridley’s are now trying to prepare for what could be some uncertain times ahead.
We reached out to spokespeople for the Hazelwood School District to try and get more details about the plan moving forward for Jana Elementary and its families.
However, no one has gotten back to us.