Anglophone North reveals failure to test for asbestos in 12 schools

Parents and staff at 12 anglophone schools in northern New Brunswick were told on Monday about what the district is calling "a breach of the inspection protocol for asbestos."

Official says schools have had asbestos management plans in place since 2004 but no inspections were done

Beth Stymiest, the superintendent of the Anglophone North School District, said it is not clear why asbestos tests were not completed at 12 schools in northern communities. (Anglophone North School District)

Parents and staff at 12 anglophone schools in northern New Brunswick were informed on Monday of a "breach of the inspection protocol for asbestos," according to the Anglophone North School District.

Beth Stymiest, the district superintendent, says in a statement that in early January the district discovered annual inspections had not been performed in some of the schools, dating back 11 years.

"The person who was responsible did not perform inspections once all public and student accessible areas of the schools had received [asbestos] mitigation in 2004. Why that happened we're not sure," said Stymiest. 

Stymiest says schools in the province have had asbestos management plans in place since 2004.

The superintendent says it is not clear why those inspections were not carried out and an investigation is underway.

But she said she would not comment on any personnel issues or the status of the investigation.

Dalhousie Regional High School was one of the buildings where some "minor preventative maintenance" will be needed following asbestos tests. (Courtesy of Dalhousie Regional High School)
Stymiest says she was surprised when she discovered the breach and the district ordered immediate inspections, which were completed by Jan. 20 by engineers trained in asbestos management.

She says their report revealed the following:

There were no issues found in three of the schools:

  • Sugarloaf Senior High School
  • Campbellton Middle School
  • L. E. Reinsborough School.

Stymiest says five other schools require "minor preventative maintenance" to bring the facilities up to the standards in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Stymiest says there is no immediate health and safety risk to students or staff at these schools but the repairs will be completed as soon as possible.

The five schools are:

  • Tide Head School
  • Lord Beaverbrook School
  • Jacquet River School
  • Bathurst High School
  • Dalhousie Regional High School

However, at Bathurst and Dalhousie high schools, there is asbestos present in maintenance rooms that are accessed by school custodians and some school district maintenance staff.  

Some asbestos was found in the maintenance room, which is accessed by custodians and staff, at Bathurst High School. (Anglophone North School District)
The superintendent says the asbestos in those areas requires "immediate remediation due to the higher level of risk."

Air quality testing was done on Jan. 25 in these maintenance rooms.

Stymiest said those tests showed the asbestos levels were non-existent or well below acceptable limits.

"The asbestos, however, will be removed as soon as possible," she said.

In addition, there is no asbestos in the following schools:

  • Parkwood Heights Elementary School
  • Superior Middle School
  • Terry Fox Elementary School
  • Janeville School. 


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