Toxic mold saga of Oak Ridge school

Updated 2-28-10…

Toxic mold was never definitely linked to Oak Ridge Elementary. Eight months after closing their doors, classes have now resumed at Oak Ridge. Many hours of work have been spent resolving issues that parents believe were making their children sick, including a number of changes to the HVAC system. Parents were able to tour the new-and-improved Oak Ridge last week, and crews were still making last-minute preparations for the returning students on Monday. The school will continue to monitor conditions inside the building.

Updated 1-27-10…

Has the toxic mold issue been resolved at Oak Ridge? Good question. Seven months and $1.6 million later, school officials still can’t say if the problem has been fixed, or if there ever was one. None of the inspections performed at the school have definitively linked mold to the illnesses reported. Turner Building Science and Design said testing has been done to ensure that moisture and mold levels are within acceptable ranges. Superintendent Mo Green said he takes the clearance testing results as an indication the school is safe to return to.

Updated 10-27-09…

The toxic mold issue at Oak Ridge has left all parents frustrated, to say the least. The school system is awaiting environmental results from NIOSH before allowing students back in the school, however, a petition is being signed by some parents requesting permission to return by January 4, 2010. Oak Ridge PTA President Ashley Royal said the petition signals a shift in public perception on the Oak Ridge problem. She said the petitioners think they have waited patiently while the school system has spent months trying to fix a problem that doesn’t affect many students, but are frustrated with the inconvenience of sending their children to three different schools.

Updated 8-4-09…

Toxic mold may also be an issue at Oak Ridge alternative locations. Fourth and fifth grade students were to begin school in the Cone building at Oak Ridge Military Academy, however a “musty dank odor”, water-damaged ceiling tiles, soiled carpet and a water leak in the HVAC room have changed those plans. Inspectors also found “surface mold contamination” in the HVAC diffusers at Colfax Elementary where Kindergarten and first graders were relocated. Repair status is unknown.

Updated 8-1-09…

A preliminary report has confirmed mold at Oak Ridge Elementary. The NIOSH was brought in to bring a higher level of expertise to the “sick” school. The report showed mold in various locations of the building. The team spent three days examining the school and left monitoring equipment behind to collect data. Their final report may take up to two months to complete.

Updated 6-30-09…

Toxic mold at Oak Ridge school has been ruled out. Ward Robinson of the Guilford County Department of Public Health believes the building itself is sick…a term is used to describe the poor circulation of fresh air in a closed building. He feels the problem involves the imbalance of the air conditioning system and dehumidifier. This could lead to bad and dry air in parts of the building, which may result in feelings of tiredness, headaches and nose bleeds…all similar symptoms of toxic mold.

Updated 6-26-09…

According to this news report, self-proclaimed mold expert Linda May says she believes the mold at Oak Ridge Elementary is the worst case she’s ever seen. She performed her services at no charge, and offered free advice to the school board. She recommended that students and staff not be allowed back in the building. School officials disagree, and are awaiting the federal investigation by NIOSH.

However, this quote from an in-depth article sums up concerns about her expertise…”There is every reason to be skeptical of May and of her claims. To begin with, despite her repeated claims of connections with OSHA, the EPA and the Department of Defense, there is no indication that she has any connection with those agencies, and despite being asked repeatedly, she provided no documentation to prove any such connection. Pressed for her qualifications on Friday, June 12, she would say only that she has a bachelor’s degree in public safety from the University of Illinois, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Lakeview College of Nursing in Illinois and took a three-week training course, which she couldn’t describe with any specificity, from OSHA at some time during the 1990s. She said she would email documents to support those three claims, but never did.”

Updated 6-22-09…

Oak Ridge Elementary continues to struggle with toxic mold. Classes won’t be held this summer, as school officials investigate why teachers and kids are getting sick. The school will be working with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to determine if toxic mold and other health hazards are present.

Updated 5-30-09…

Oak Ridge teachers are fed up with toxic mold. With just a few weeks remaining in the school year, teachers take their students to the only place they feel is safe…outside. The district says it’s okay as long as the students are learning. Teachers plan to keep the kids outside as long as possible in order to limit their exposure to mold.

Updated 5-23-09…

Angry parents demand answers to toxic mold problems. End of Grade testing has been interfered with because kids have been going home sick. There have been unusually high numbers of headaches, nose bleeds, sore throats and lethargy. Health inspectors have found no mold, but further testing is needed. The school principal suspects ventilation problems.

Updated 5-21-09…

Oak Ridge Elementary is still receiving complaints over toxic mold. A teacher claims his symptoms have gotten worse, and he is no longer able to teach. Doctors have tested him positive for aspergellis and penicillin. A parent has pulled her daughter out of school due to mold sickness, unsure of when she will return.

Oak Ridge Elementary parents are concerned about toxic mold. Letters were sent out regarding the hygiene of various classrooms. Renovation plans are underway, however, parents are questioning the environmental safety of their children. Mold has been a problem at Oak Ridge since it’s construction in 2005.

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>