School officials closed parts of East Aurora High School after finding two clusters of mold growth in the building.
When classes commenced for the 2015-2016 school year on Tuesday, August 25, staff found small but visible amounts of mold in three classrooms – in addition to the mold custodians found in the school’s Little Theater in late July.
An environmental consultant hired by East Aurora District 131 will test the air quality in the hallways near the classrooms on Thursday, August 27, according to Principal Anthony Crespo.
The type of mold in the classrooms, as well as the cost of the remediation, will remain unknown until the test results come in. Removal methods depend on the kind of mold growing on a given surface.
Tests performed on the mold in the theater revealed a strain called cladosporium, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are common indoors and out and rarely cause severe illness in humans.
During the first day of school, some students experienced sneezing and one teacher reported feeling ill, but school officials are confident that no one is in immediate danger because of this mold growth.
Closing the three classrooms temporarily displaced more than two hundred students, who had to move to other classrooms in the building. The affected classrooms are currently being cleaned and could reopen as soon as Monday.
Officials speculate that the mold growth occurred because of a faulty air handler – a piece of moisture-regulating equipment that is part of the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. Crespo declares that the mold has been contained and at this point in time is inactive.
District board members voted to dispose of and replace the two HVAC units in the theater and school offices – costing the district nearly $100,000. They had already been discussing renovating the Little Theatre, which will likely remain closed after mold remediation is complete. Students who typically meet for class in the theatre are instead meeting in a section of the school’s larger auditorium.
Crespo maintains that with two outbreaks of mold growth, the district will have a heightened awareness of the issue going forward.Tags: education, mold, mold growth, school