Tuesday, February 27, 2001

No more mold seen at school

Precautions taken; Maple Dale reopens

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

        BLUE ASH — Maple Dale Elementary School will reopen today after being closed two days while crews checked for mold contamination.

        Last week, a ceiling tile in a storage closet was found to contain mold. The tile was replaced.

        School officials spent Monday taking precautionary measures recommended by Ken Martinez, an industrial hygienist with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, who specializes in mold in buildings. Mr. Martinez toured the school Monday and found no visible signs of mold.

        Sycamore Schools' business manager Richard Camp said the following steps were taken on Mr. Martinez's recommendation, four days after Harrison-based Environmental Risk Management Inc. discovered, and then removed, the moldy tile:

        • Replaced almost 100 ceiling tiles that showed moisture stains.

        • Replaced all air filters in heating systems.

        • Inspected and began cleaning/repairing drains that collected condensation in the heating system.

        • Vacuumed and treated carpeting and began replacing worn or ripped carpeting with tile.

        • Had Environmental Risk Management Inc. take 30 air and 20 surface samples throughout the building Monday that will be tested for mold contamination.

        • Brought roofing contractors to the school Monday to check for leaks.

        “We're ready to go,” Mr. Camp said Monday afternoon. “We did the right things, and that gives me a level of assurance (that it's safe for children).”

        Last month the district contracted with Environmental Risk Management after teachers complained about headaches and allergy symptoms. In late January the firm took 13 surface and air samples. The results, which the district received last Thursday, showed only one area of surface contamination — a 2-by-4-foot ceiling tile in a closet that students did not have access to — and no air contamination, said Krista Ramsey, district spokeswoman.

        Mrs. Ramsey said parents were sent letters over the weekend. A question/answer session for parents with Mr. Martinez will be scheduled for later this week.


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