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A public meeting will be held on Saturday, Nov. 2 to update the community and provide information about the closure of Zahn’s Corner Middle School and the status of independent testing.

The meeting, which is being held by the Scioto Valley Local School District in conjunction with the Pike County General Health District, will begin at 1 p.m. in the Piketon High School cafeteria, 1414 Piketon Road, Piketon. The meeting 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 that dangerous toxins — including neptunium, enriched uranium, and americium — were present in and around the school; as well as the status of ongoing independent testing being done in the community,” according to the press release from Sunday Creek Horizons on behalf of the school district.

“The School Board voted unanimously to quarantine Zahn’s Corner Middle School because their first priority is to protect our students and staff,” said Wes Hairston, superintendent of the Scioto Valley Local School District. “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% 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.”

Many believe that the contaminants present at the school emanated from the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant, adjacent to Zahn’s Corner, which is now in the cleanup process.

“U.S. Department of Energy monitors near the school have reported multiple detections of various radiological contaminants, including neptunium, americium, and uranium, over the years at that location,” the press release states. “In April 2019, Northern Arizona University 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 brief presentations and will be available to answer questions.

According to its website, Sunday Creek Horizons LLC is a full-service communications, advocacy, and business development firm dedicated to improving the lives of Appalachian Ohioans. The president and managing member of the firm is Zack Space, who formerly served as U.S. Congressman for Ohio’s 18th District, which comprises 16 counties or portions of counties in rural southeastern Ohio.

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