UPDATE: Capital High School will not open Monday due to mold

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ST. ALBANS, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 8/19/18 @ 6:36
Capital High School will be closed Monday according to Kanawha County School officials.

Photo: Fbot / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

The district says they have not received final testing results for 20 classrooms.

That means those 20 rooms have not been given final clearance allowing students and staff back in.

The district says staff does not need to report Monday either.

This follows weeks of mold issues found at school buildings across the entire district. And this is not the first time Capital has been closed due to mold issues. The school was closed for a week last school year too.



UPDATE 8/17/18 @ 10:42 p.m.
We are now into the single digits as students count down the days until class starts in Kanawha County. But are all the mold problems cleared out ahead of the first day of school? District officials say almost.

“Man you don't want to start the year off like that,” said a concerned father.

"I really don't think it's in their best interest to be in this type of environment,” said another person.

"There could be a chronic wet condition going on,” a cleaning crew member described.

"I think it feels like to the community and to the employees that after they clean it up, they just walk away,” explained a member of WVEA.

We first told you earlier this month about mold coming back with a vengeance at various schools around Kanawha County. But will they be cleaned in time for classes Monday?

“On just a few we are still waiting for test results,” explained Briana Warner, Communications Director for Kanawha County Schools.

Warner says barring anything major found in those results, they will open all schools bright and early Monday.

“So we're still waiting on some finals at Capital High School, we're still waiting on some finals at Flinn Elementary, and at Bridge Clendenin in the portables,” she said.

In each of those schools the district says the final mold testing involves groups of classrooms, anywhere from two-10 rooms. The district adds all other schools impacted are cleared ahead of Monday.

“I think it's natural to be concerned. As a mom myself I understand that,” Warner said. “But I know that it's something that the school district is at the top of their priority level."

Kanawha County Schools continues that this is a major issue that they do not take lightly. They tell WSAZ they will be able to work around any rooms or places not cleared after those test results come back this weekend.

Teachers’ unions are also expressing their concerns too, saying more needs done to not only protect students, but also employees as well.

Continue reading for the full list of schools where mold was found in Kanawha County. Again, the district says all but parts of Capital High School, Flinn Elementary and Bridge Clendenin have been cleared and are safe for students to return.



UPDATE: 8/16/18 @ 4:17 p.m.
Cleaning and testing will happen this week at multiple Kanawha County School buildings after mold was found in ten different schools as well as the locker room at Laidley Field which is used by students at Horace Mann.

A spokeswoman for Kanahwa County Schools, Briana Warner, says that all affected rooms at St. Albans High School were cleaned, tested and cleared for mold.

'Cleared' means that the air-quality testing came back within normal or acceptable levels. However, the kitchen at the high school is still undergoing cleaning and will need tested before school starts on Monday, Aug. 20.

All but eight classrooms at Capital High School have also been cleared, according to Warner.

Nitro High School and George Washington High School have also been cleaned, tested and cleared.

Six other schools and the Laidley Field locker rooms are still in the process of either being cleaned or tested.

More air-quality test results are expected Friday.

The schools affected by mold include:

St. Albans High School: Library, computer lab, counselor suite
Nitro High School: Auditorium
Capital High School: 30 academic spaces or more were proactively cleaned
Sissonville High School: Band room, two classrooms, football press box and bathrooms
George Washington High School: Auditorium
Horace Mann (Laidley Field locker rooms): Football equipment and locker room have no air conditioning
Flinn Elementary: Eight classrooms
Bridge-Clendenin Elementary: 10 portable classrooms
Sharon Dawes Elementary: Six classrooms
East Bank Middle School: One classroom and computer lab
Alum Creek Elementary: Five classrooms

UPDATE 8/15/18 @ 5:25 p.m.
Teachers in Kanawha County went back to school Tuesday. On Wednesday, one teacher told WSAZ she was already experiencing mold exposure symptoms.

The Kanawha County teacher asked to remain anonymous, so her name will not be included in this story. She shared her concerns for the students in this environment. "I know myself from the experiences and how terrible it makes you feel. I hate to know how this is going to affect the health of students."

This teacher found out she is allergic to mold after an asthma attack, leading to a breathing treatment in the stairwell. "I had to receive steroid shots, steroid pills. They actually put me on a strong antibiotic due to ear infections and upper respiratory," she said.

Mold affects everyone differently. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing and wheezing, eye irritation and skin irritation are symptoms of mold exposure.

People with compromised immune systems and chronic lung illnesses can get serious infections from mold exposure.

The Kanawha County teacher said others in her school have received injections to prevent reactions to mold allergies, but the injections are expensive and she did not receive that treatment.

UPDATE 8/14/18 @ 4:25 p.m.
Nearly a dozen schools have mold in Kanawha County just days before the start of the school year.

St. Albans High School: Library, computer lab, counselor suite
Nitro High School: Auditorium
Capital High School: 30 academic spaces or more were proactively cleaned
Sissonville High School: Band room, two classrooms, football press box and bathrooms
George Washington High School: Auditorium
Horace Mann (Laidley Field locker rooms): Football equipment and locker room have no air conditioning
Flinn Elementary: Eight classrooms
Bridge-Clendenin Elementary: 10 portable classrooms
Sharon Dawes Elementary: Six classrooms
East Bank Middle School: One classroom and computer lab
Alum Creek Elementary: Five classrooms

According to a spokesperson for Kanawha County Schools, crews and custodians are in the buildings cleaning the affected rooms and testing the air quality.

Many parents have expressed concerns to WSAZ about administrators dealing with the problem so close to the upcoming school year. The first day for teachers is Tuesday. Students go back Aug. 20.

Kanawha County Executive Director of Maintenance Terry Hollandsworth said, "We can check today, but it'll be different tomorrow. We started July 1st going through the schools and looking for problem areas."

Hollandsworth noted the problem is better this year than it was last year. "Last year it kind of caught us by surprise. I believe if we would've waited it would've been just as bad as it was last year," Hollandsworth said.

Administrators said the school start date has not changed and will remain Aug. 20.

UPDATE 8/13/18 @ 5:09 p.m.
Teachers will return to St. Albans High School as scheduled Tuesday. However, some of their spaces will be closed until follow up mold testing is complete.

According to a spokesperson for Kanawha County Schools, mold was found in 12 classrooms, the library, the computer lab, and a counselor suite.

Astar Abatement cleaned the rooms late last week and air quality testing is happening this week.

KCS Spokesperson Briana Warner says the teachers and staff who use those rooms will be given alternative work spaces until follow-up testing confirms the mold levels are acceptable.

The first day for teachers is Tuesday. Students go back Aug. 20.

ORIGINAL STORY 8/13/18
Mold was discovered in more than a dozen rooms at St. Albans High School not long before the start of the school year.

According to a spokesperson for Kanawha County Schools, mold was found in 12 classrooms, the library, the computer lab, and a counselor suite.

Astar Abatement cleaned the rooms late last week.

KCS Spokesperson Briana Warner tells WSAZ the cleaning is complete and follow-up air quality testing is happening Monday. Warner says those results will come back in the next couple of days.

Students go back on Aug. 20. The first day for teachers is Aug. 14.

"The way they measure is levels higher than outside," Warner stated. "On initial testing, all of those rooms had levels above that of outside samples. Mold occurs naturally all over, so the goal is to keep levels below outside levels."

If any of the rooms still have an "unacceptable level," Warner says there will be additional cleaning until the air samples are in the acceptable range.

So far, all but six academic rooms have been cleared. Warner says the principal will work with those teachers to find alternate work areas until those rooms get the all-clear.

We reported on mold in St. Albans High School two years ago. In August of 2016, the band room had mold. The original issue stemmed from the air conditioner unit not working properly. A sprinkler system used to cool the school down may have led to the mold issue, but the correlation was unclear.



 
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