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Displaced Huntington Beach students return to campus after asbestos cleanup

A sign warns of asbestos danger at a former Royal Mail sorting office on October 11, 2013 in London, England.
A sign warns of asbestos danger at a former Royal Mail sorting office on October 11, 2013 in London, England.
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

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As hundreds of students went back to their Huntington Beach elementary school Tuesday after spending most of the school year away due to asbestos cleaning, others remain scattered at other campuses, waiting to return.

Students in 2nd through 5th grade showed up at Oak View Elementary School after three months away from the campus while workers removed the cancer-causing building material from school classrooms.

The students will attend classes in portable buildings, NBC4 reported. Kindergarteners and 1st-graders remain at other schools, with their return not expected until later this year.

Students at two other schools, Lake View Elementary and Hope View Elementary, also are attending other campuses while the school district attempts to resolve the asbestos problem. The cleanup has cost the 9,200-student Ocean View School District millions of dollars.

“It’s just been, you know, an upheaval in their life,” said Sharon Hall, whose 3rd-grade grandson was assigned to a campus in Buena Park, 30 minutes away from Hope View Elementary, his home school.

“They’re missing their computer classes. There’s a lot of activities that take place at their school. Every Wednesday they used to have an assembly where they would be out and all the grades would be out there together,” she said.

The school district maintains that students are receiving the required learning time.

“There’s a certain amount of instructional minutes the district has to have to meet its goals and we follow those minutes,” said Gustavo Balderas, superintendent of the Ocean View School District.

At a school board meeting earlier this month, parents told school district officials they’re worried that their kids will fall behind when they’re away from their permanent classrooms.