The Scioto Valley Local School District, in conjunction with the Pike County General Health District, will host a community update Nov. 2 at Piketon High School, to provide information about the closure of Zahn’s Corner Middle School and the status of independent testing.
The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. in the high school cafeteria and is open to the general public.
The forum will serve to update the public regarding the closure of Zahn’s Corner, which was evacuated and quarantined by the Scioto Valley Local School District following confirmation dangerous toxins — including neptunium, enriched uranium, and americium — were present in and around the school.
“The school board voted unanimously to quarantine Zahn’s Corner Middle School because our first priority is to protect our students and staff,” said Scioto Valley Local School District Superintendent Wes Hairston.
“Given the presence of these extremely dangerous toxins, the board and the school’s administration will not place students, teachers, and other personnel in harm’s way. Every child—regardless of whether they live in wealthy suburbs or rural districts like ours—has the right to be educated in a healthy, safe environment. We won’t stop fighting for our students until we are 100 percent certain that each and every one is safe in our facilities. Given the presence of these highly dangerous toxins, we cannot in good faith say at this time that is the case.”
The contaminants present at Zahn’s Corner Middle School allegedly emanated from the now-shuttered Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant, which sits adjacent to Zahn’s Corner. U.S. Department of Energy monitors near the school have reported multiple detections of various radiological contaminants, including neptunium, americium, and enriched uranium over the years at that location.
In April 2019, a Northern Arizona University study reported detections of enriched uranium inside the school.
Hairston, along with school board President Brandon Wooldridge and Pike County Health Commissioner Matt Brewster are expected to provide presentations and will be available to answer questions.