August 3, 2009
Health officials confirmed on Monday that mold was discovered at Colfax Elementary school, the school where the county planned to send Oak Ridge students this fall.
Inspectors found surface mold contamination on HVAC diffusers, according to Haley Miller, a spokesperson for Guilford County Schools.
When asked if the students will still attend the school, Miller said the plan is the school will still be used.
“That’s correct. The mold found can be cleaned with a HEPA vacuum, per the industrial hygienist.”
On July 23, Guilford County school officials revealed the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has recommended keeping Oak Ridge Elementary closed until the problems are fixed.
According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, the school should remain closed until work on its heating, ventilating and air conditioning system is finished.
“Right now I’m happy to see someone finally make the right decision,” said Amy Pritchett. “Without us there we do not have to be guinea pigs to see if this going to work.”
The panel’s other recommendations include:
Removing the rest of the carpet Re-commissioning the HVAC system instead of cleaning the ductwork Adjusting moisture levels Installing a vapor barrier in the crawl space under the old building and remove any mold or mildew discovered during this process
School officials received preliminary reports Wednesday from the agency that inspected the school last week.
FOX8 News has obtained e-mails showing a school board member warned the HVAC system was likely causing indoor air quality as early as 2005.
“I think they did look at it,” said Darlene Garrett, board member. “I don’t know how thoroughly they looked at it.”
School officials said they are temporarily planning to move students in the second through fifth grades to Oak Ridge Military Academy through October. Oak Ridge Pre-K students would be sent to Pearce Elementary while Colfax Elementary would temporarily house Oak Ridge’s kindergarten and first grade students.
The school said it’s already spent $600,000 in repairs and is pledging an equal amount in future costs. It’s unclear how much more the school system will have to spend in order to reopen the school.