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Rectified mold concern allows reopening schools

By Seth Hancock
  Two schools that were affected by mold are safe for students School District U-46 officials said.
  U-46 CEO Tony Sanders addressed two recent cases of mold, one at South Elgin’s Kenyon Woods Middle School and the other at Elgin’s Coleman Elementary School, at the Board of Education meeting on Monday, Sept. 24.
  Kenyon Woods was the most recent case leading to the closure of four classrooms in the building on Friday, Sept. 24 and again on Monday, Sept. 24. Coleman was forced to close the entire school on Thursday, Sept. 13 and it remained closed until Wednesday, Sept. 19 when classes resumed.
  Regarding the Kenyon Woods case, Sanders said that as a chiller on the roof was being repaired a temporary chiller was used during the remediation.
  “This weekend they cleaned the mold, did the air testing in the four classrooms that had mold and they were all clear as of today (Sept. 24),” Sanders said. “So at this point, we’re all good.”
  The closure at Coleman was “a precautionary move after a visual inspection showed mold in common areas such as hallways,” according to a U-46 press release.
  Sanders said: “We made sure that the air testing came back negative so we’re good there.”
  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are several negative effects associated with mold.
  “Some people are sensitive to molds,” according to the CDC. “For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.”
  Those with a “weakened immune system… are more likely to get mold infections,” and exposure can “lead to development of asthma in some individuals,” the CDC added. “Interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.”
  A mold remediation page on u-46.org states that schools are inspected visually “periodically and through routine inspections,” and custodians are trained to spot mold as they walk buildings daily. Those needing remediation are visually inspected and the air quality is tested through a “third party expert on the remediation and air quality testing” before they are reopened.

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