BY PAT FARNELLI
A group of concerned parents confronted the Mountain View School Board Monday night about their response to findings of mold growing in classrooms at the elementary school before the start of the school year.
Several parents of students with medical issues were worried that students’ health could be affected, and pointedly asked why the mold remediation was performed over the Labor Day weekend rather than earlier in the month.
Superintendent Karen Voigt responded to questions raised during Maintenance Director Bob Taylor’s building and grounds report. She said that while a small amount of mold was found in a Head Start room on Aug. 14, it was believed to be an isolated occurrence and that Head Start administrators were informed at that time.
Melissa Schneider, a Head Start employee and parent of Mountain View students, said that Voigt had spoken to Head Start employees about mold. She said she saw four men working on mold remediation when she was at the building before the start of school. “There is still mold in the classroom,” she said.
“It’s been professionally remediated,” answered the construction project supervisor that was at the Monday night meeting.
Voigt said that when the mold was first noted, “It was an active construction site,” and that the building was thoroughly inspected. Tests were conducted of the air and tape samples from surfaces. Board members received a copy of the test results in their folders for the meeting.
According to the construction supervisor, the air quality in the classrooms tested to be the same or better than the air outside; and an air exchange with outside air is required four times per hour. The air test, conducted before remediation, was high enough in quality that a follow-up test after remediation was deemed unnecessary, it was reported.
Normally, rugs from the elementary school classrooms are taken to the gymnasium for cleaning in the summer. This year, the rugs were not drying, and several were discarded and replaced with Microban carpets. A professional cleaning service cleaned the office and classroom rugs over the Labor Day weekend. “I really believe the wet rugs were the catalyst,” Voigt said.
In addition to wiping down active mold, a sporicide was used for spores that are not yet active. The botanical sporicide, Benefect Decon 30, is a disinfectant fungicide and mildewstat, and is effective for four weeks after application.
The mold remediation company, Eagle Hygiene of Horsham, was able to respond within 48 hours. “Fortunately, the construction contractors had connections with mold specialists,” Voigt said.
“You can nudge me up and smile at me and smirk all you want, but I am concerned about the kid’s health,” one parent said, noting that one student had vomited at school on the first day and another became sick after arriving at home.
Courtney Hummel, a parent of one Mountain View student, pointedly questioned Voigt about the timing of the cleanup and whether there was mold in classrooms at this time. At one point, she asked Voigt if she lied about the date when mold was found, which was reported as August 18 or later in other accounts.