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School mold found; honesty/remediation efforts congratulated   PDF  Print  E-mail 
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Sunday, 31 October 2004

Mold Help congratulates the Old Farmer's Road School in Washington Township for taking the responsibility for admiting to their problems  and  taking care of the remediation of their school and caring enough about the indoor air quality of the children and school personnel.  This is a rare and selfless act and we acknowledge and appreciate their public health concerns and finding reasonable solutions towards the best interest of the health of everyone involved.  You deserve the utmost respect from your community as you have finally worked towards ending the problem without just making minor cosmetic changes that would never have helped anyone in the long run. Good job, Washington Township.  We honor your integrity, honor, and dedication towards meeting the entire educational needs of the children at your school!  Your school will be listed on our Hall of Fame.

WASHINGTON TWP ? Concerns over possible toxic mold in Old Farmer?s Road School caused the evacuation of two classrooms in September, including one kindergarten class, but officials said on Tuesday, Oct. 12, that remediation efforts are solving the problem.

School officials and members of the Washington Township Education Association are ?trying to work together to solve the problem,? said Barbara Falk, president of the 240-member teacher group.

Falk and about 50 teachers from the 500-student, grade K-5 school attended a township Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 12 to discuss the problem.

Schools Superintendent Gerald Vernotica said officials acted quickly to solve the problem by hiring a consultant to oversee clean-up efforts. 
Action by school officials was triggered when a teacher became ill and was treated by a physician for a mold-related illness, Falk said.

Longstanding Complaints

Teachers have complained for several years about the problem, she said. 
Some teachers said they feel better during summer vacations than they do during the school year, she said.

When the teacher got sick and was treated by a doctor this year, school officials finally addressed the issue, Falk said.

Vernotica said toxic black mold was discovered at two of six sites tested, but on subsequent samples, results for toxic
mold were negative. Nevertheless, two classrooms were cleaned, and rugs were replaced, he said. But the teachers said they want more extensive clean-up efforts.

Vernotica said it is difficult to remove some rugs because they are attached to asbestos tiles. Their removal would require expensive asbestos abatement, Vernotica said.

?One room has been thoroughly cleaned. The carpet has been removed. Other rooms need to be addressed,? Falk said.  Mold was found in one kindergarten room, and also the principal?s office, Falk said.  Vernotica said students from the affected kindergarten class met in the gymnasium until the room was remediated.

?The teachers did a wonderful job of making the students feel at home in their new surroundings,? he said.  Falk said problems with mold might also affect some students who have breathing problems, like asthma.

?In areas we go into, there is a very, very strong smell. Even the children say so,? she said. ?We want a thorough and systematic cleaning of mold in the rooms. It?s in the building. When it rains, the mold comes down.?

Liz Georges, board secretary, said, the rooms that had the mold ?were addressed.?  Vernotica said there were ?moms to be? among the teachers present at the meeting.

?Our hopes are for the best possible environment for the children,? he said.  Falk said the teachers are ?trying to work together? with officials and ?hopefully they will solve the problem.?

Last Updated (Monday, 01 November 2004)

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