Scott County Central cleaning up mold found in classrooms

Scott County Central cleaning up mold found in classrooms
(Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)

SCOTT COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - In early January, mold was found in three different rooms in the Scott County Central Elementary building. Of these rooms, two of them were classrooms and the other was a room used for storage.

Alvin McFerren, Scott County Central Superintendent, said they are doing everything they can to get rid of it.

"At some point, many schools have this problem, have this issue," McFerren said. "We knew that at some point there was a possibility but trying to prevent it is almost impossible unless you've done everything that you could possibly do."

There are still areas of the building and hallways closed off by sheets of plastic.This is more for the safety of the students and staff as workers from ServiceMaster continue to eradicate the mold and avoid the possibility of spreading it.

"We just made sure that particular area was confined," McFerren said. "And it has been confined and that there's none of our children or staff subjected to it until the completion of the remediation."

The mold was reportedly found on a ceiling tile in a room and also on a wall in the storage area.

Parents and residents were concerned about it being black mold, however, McFerren said that is not the case and that it is just regular mold.

"I didn't want to take the chance that it's not really a big deal," he said. "Let's take care of the problem. And then of course I'm concerned about making sure that it doesn't return. That is very important."

The mold was tested and McFerren said levels turned out to low enough to not be of any health concerns. However, McFerren wanted to treat it seriously just in case.

"Engineers said that the level counts when he took the test were low," McFerren said. "And that there wasn't much need for us to be concerned whatsoever. But, my being concerned about again, all the students and staff of the Scott County Central School District, I all pressed upon him to please test as many rooms as we thought would need to be tested. And he did so and the results have come back very positive."

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For those who are, molds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. People with mold allergies are susceptible to more severe reactions.

McFerren said that is why they took extra precaution to tackle the problem as soon as they became aware of it.

"The uncertainty of mold seems to be pretty prevalent in our society." he said. "How it affects each of us seems to be something that is pretty individualized. No person is affected the same way."

The Scott County Health Department, along with their insurance company, were called in to inspect the mold infestation. McFerren said the school has done what they were told by these agencies to make sure they eliminate this problem to the best of their ability.

McFerren said that crews have already cleaned up the mold and anticipates being given the all clear later this week. He feels that classes will resume in these rooms by next Monday.

"Now it's just a matter of the tests that's going to be done after the process has been completed being done to clear any concern whatsoever that those levels still exist," McFerren said. "I'm pretty confident we're not going to find any issues there."

The statement below was also released from McFerren on the status of the mold problem.

"Ensuring a safe, healthy learning environment for all of our students and staff is of utmost importance to the Scott County Central School District. Once the school district became aware that there maybe an issue with mold in a very small area of our building, the District took immediate steps to ensure that the health of our students and staff would not be compromised in any way. Students and staff have not been allowed access to the area affected and the District has been diligently working with remediation experts and county health professionals to ensure that the issue is fully remediated. The District has been informed that the issue has been fully remediated but we are still waiting on the final confirming test results. No student or staff member will be allowed back in the area affected until I have personally inspected the area and received the test results confirming that the issue has been fully remediated."

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