GIRARD SCHOOLS Prospect reopens for classes

One parent said he had no alternative but to take his daughter to school today.
GIRARD -- Some parents and grandparents expressed reservations as pupils arrived in cars and buses at Prospect Elementary School this morning for the first time in a week.
The school was closed after classes Friday because of pupil and staff sickness in the attached intermediate school, which now is closed for the school year.
Although school officials didn't have a pupil census early this morning, one parent who regularly drops off her daughter said, "There are a lot missing."
There are usually 536 pupils at Prospect, which houses kindergarten through third grade.
Not so sure: Chuck Swartz of State Street said he had reservations about sending his granddaughter, Amanda Hillier, back to school because she had experienced symptoms that have plagued the intermediate building -- a rash and headaches.
"If she comes home sick today, that will be the end of it," Swartz said firmly. He said his granddaughter is normally "a pretty healthy little girl."
Trish Ruscoe, of East Wilson Avenue, dropped her son, Christopher, off at the school.
Ruscoe said she didn't have any reservations about sending her son to his kindergarten class. He wouldn't be attending if Prospect hadn't been sealed off from the intermediate side and the two schools didn't have separate ventilation systems.
During the off week, Ruscoe said, Christopher got in a lot of playtime. "He didn't have too much schoolwork to do," she added.
On her way: Clayton McNeil of Prospect Street took his daughter, America, into the school.
McNeil said he had reservations about his daughter's going to school, but he acknowledged that he doesn't know too much about the situation.
His problem is that both he and his wife work, and there was nobody to care for his daughter. He pointed out he had no choice but to take her to school today.
Another parent, Natasha Eiland, said she wouldn't have allowed her daughter, second-grader Cierra, to go into the building if she thought the building was unsafe.
"I respect the judgment of school officials," Eiland, of State Street, said. She, too, noted Prospect has been sealed off from the intermediate building and cleaned.
Health clearance: During a news conference Wednesday, Richard Ragozine, president of the Girard Board of Education, said the decision was made to open Prospect because it was cleared to open by the city health department.
Tests were negative for fiberglass in the air in both buildings and the results of other samples taken will be available periodically in the next 12 days, he said.
JoAnn Johntony, head custodian, said crews worked two 14-hour days cleaning the building.
Pupils who normally attend the intermediate school will begin classes Friday -- some at Tod Woods Elementary School and others at the junior high school.

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