PENNSBURG, Pa. (CBS) — After weeks of anxiety and uncertainty, parents got some answers Thursday night from the district officials and mold experts.
“Our first priority is to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff,” said Dr. Kerry Drake, a board member.
The meeting began with the elephant in the room – mold. Anxious parents and students sat in the crowd at the Upper Perkiomen school board meeting to learn about the mold that closed the district high school this week.
“It’s not healthy at all. I’m sick. My sister is very sick. We both have asthma,” said Raevona Fisher.
Fisher is a senior at Upper Perkiomen and came out to hear from district officials and mold experts.
Over the summer, cleaning crews discovered mold but quickly began to remedy the problem before students returned. The effort didn’t work as mold was discovered inside the building over the last few weeks and students complained of getting sick.
“It’s concerning. I think they’re doing what they can to get things cleaned up. I’m just concerned we weren’t aware of what happened during the summertime until last week,” says Mary Cannon, a parent.
At Thursday’s meeting, Superintendent Dr. Alexis McGloin introduced a mold inspector to update parents.
“We’re trying to come up with a proper mix of getting everything on a maintenance schedule so this way you don’t have this issue pop up in the future,” says mold inspector, Ray Felix.
The inspector told board members the HVAC system was not properly maintained for several years. Combine that with a 50-year-old building and a humid summer and mold can easily develop in schools.
“This is my 7th school district in the last five weeks,” explains Felix.
According to the mold cleaning company, the initial testing has come back to show the cleaning is working and levels are going down.
Going forward each room will have a dehumidifier. Cleaning will continue Friday and possibly Saturday with school opening on Monday.