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Mold Shuts Down Schools


By Ryan Berlin IAQ
Mold on a wall

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is among the highest priorities for maintenance and engineering managers, given its potential impact on occupants of institutional and commercial facilities. The issue is especially important for K-12 schools, where IAQ problems can have an especially large impact.

Recently, the Stamford, Conn., board of education announced it is closing Westover Magnet Elementary School for a week to perform remediation and repairs related to mold. The closing comes after news that the district’s Northeast Elementary School is shutting down its portables temporarily.

The decision to close Westover came after the district received preliminary air quality test results from an inspection of the building, according to district officials. The early results showed 21 elevated mold counts out of 90 tests performed, according to the Stamford Advocate.

The city is prepared to keep the school closed an additional week if needed, as well as to work on it during Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, says Mike Handler, the city’s director of administration and a member of the mayor’s newly formed mold task force. Maintenance projects, including drain clearing, gutter repair, and window caulking, will be done during this time to prevent further mold incidents.

The portable classrooms are being closed temporarily out an “abundance of caution” per the recommendation of industrial hygienist company Hygenix, according to a letter sent to parents by Shawn Marinello, Northeast’s principal.

This Quick Read was submitted by Ryan Berlin, managing editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions.

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