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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Chatsworth

Classes to Resume at High School

March 09, 2000|KARIMA A. HAYNES

Classes will resume this morning at Chatsworth High, where students have been out of school since Friday while work crews cleaned asbestos from a contaminated computer laboratory and debris from a weekend fire.

School officials had planned for the 3,300 students to resume classes Wednesday, but administrators put off the reopening for a day while they awaited air analysis results taken from the contaminated computer lab.

"We thought that we would have the laboratory results back by Tuesday afternoon," Principal Dan Wyatt said. "But the results take 12 hours and that would have been 4 a.m. on Wednesday. We had to make a decision early enough to notify the students."

To let parents know that classes would resume today, staff members used a voice-activated machine that keeps calling until a phone is picked up by a person or answering machine.

Staff members called from Chatsworth, Granada Hills High and Lawrence Middle School to ensure that all students were contacted in time, Wyatt said.

Even so, about seven students showed up for school Wednesday.

That number was far fewer than the scores who showed up Monday apparently unaware that the school had been closed for cleanup of asbestos problems that district officials blame on a contractor's allegedly shoddy work.

The school's problems were further complicated by a Sunday night blaze that gutted a contaminated computer laboratory. The fire, which caused $235,000 in damage, remained under investigation Wednesday.

Three temporary classrooms will replace the computer lab and nearby rooms damaged by the fire, Wyatt said, and are expected to be fully operational by next week. In the meantime, classes will be held in the gymnasium, auditorium and library.

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