As your kids prepare for their winter break from school, we wanted to remind you about mold in Orange County schools. Why is that important? Because, like Matthew Asseline of Winsted, Connecticut, your kids might be sick while in school, but energetic and active when they’re not.This may not have to do with not wanting to do math problems or learn their history lesson.
If this happens to your son or daughter, mold may be present in your child’s school.
And hopefully, unlike what happened to a teacher in Virginia who was very ill, your school won’t try to cover it up in order to avoid prosecution. That case is now with the grand jury, because the teacher had been diagnosed by her physician with sinusitis, bronchitis, lip inflammation and infection, and mold exposure, while the school denied any wrongdoing.
How can you tell when mold is growing in a school? And why does it happen? The Environmental Protection Agency outlines the answers to these questions:
- Mold requires oxygen, water, and a food source to grow. Many types of mold can use anything for a food source, including wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation.
- Controlling moisture is the key to managing mold in the classroom.
- Airborne mold spores fly through the air and land on a damp “food source”. The mold spores start digesting it in order to sustain themselves.
- Water sources in school buildings and portable classrooms for mold growth include: leaky roofs, pipes, windows, foundations and other structural openings. Water may also enter these structures due to floods, poor drainage, or misdirected sprinklers.
- Big maintenance jobs are often scheduled during school vacations, and this work can also be a source of mold growth, such as increased moisture due to painting or carpet cleaning; high humidity during the summer; and no air conditioning/heating (or reduced use) when school is not in session.
- When moisture enters a building, many times it condenses as it comes in contact with cooler indoor surfaces, such as windows, walls and water pipes. This condensation can create excessive moisture, and even pools of water inside the building.
The following areas are often where moisture builds up and mold grows:
- Above ceilings on roof materials
- Near windows
- Near water fountains
- On walls, ceiling tiles, and other visible surfaces
- On hidden surfaces, such as the back side of dry wall or wall coverings
- Around bathroom tiles
- In cooling coil drip pans and inside ductwork
- In books and carpet
If you suspect your Orange County school already has mold, contact us. We will discuss the next steps with your school’s board and hopefully eradicate the problem to keep students, faculty, and staff safe from the hazards of mold.<p>Image courtesy of Paul Goody / <a href=”http://www.freedigitalphotos.net” target=”_blank”>FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>