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Message from Principal Leith: Mold Testing Results

Message from Principal Leith: Mold Testing Results
Posted on 09/20/2018
Dear members of the Morse School community,

Due to condensation issues with our HVAC units and roof leaks related to excessive rainfall, we have experienced pooling of water in some areas of our school building. In a limited number of areas, this has led to the appearance of mold on some surfaces. I am writing to share information about the steps we have taken to identify and address any potential safety issues that might impact the children and adults who learn and teach at the Morse School.

Obviously, Assistant Principal Samantha Headley and I take the health and safety of students and staff very seriously. Immediately upon learning about the possible presence of mold, we notified Vedad Konjic, Director of CPS Facilities, who in turn conducted a walkthrough of the building. He and his team identified ceiling tiles that needed replacing and surfaces that needed cleaning. The majority of these areas were cleaned by the Morse custodial crew. 

To gather additional information about the potential impact of mold in our school, CPS facilities also reached out to an independent contractor to test the air quality in areas where the presence of mold had been detected. Testing was conducted on Tuesday, September 11th by OccuHealth, Inc. (OHI), an environmental consultant who delivered a report to our facilities department on Monday, September 17th. The report indicated that the three of the rooms tested for air quality demonstrated above-normal ranges of mold in the air. Two of these rooms are office and storage spaces adjacent to the gymnasium. The other is Karen Raimo’s Special Start classroom (A5). Yesterday morning, while staff and students were out of the building, Mr. Konjic and I conducted an additional walkthrough with Servpro, an environmental sanitation company. Servpro is developing a plan to clean impacted spaces. Part of this work will involve replacing insulation around cold water pipes connected to our HVAC units and patching areas of the roof. ServPro will also perform a complete visual inspection of our building for any additional signs of mold.  

During this process, teachers and students will avoid working in affected areas. Kumi Okabi, who leads the K-2 after-school program, has generously offered to share her classroom space (E1) with Ms. Raimo’s Special Start group until A5 has been thoroughly cleaned. Our PT and OT specialists, whose shared room has suffered from water intrusion, will also be working in alternate spaces while moisture-related issues in their room are addressed. 

Once cleaning has been completed, a final clearance inspection will be conducted in all areas of the building and an independent laboratory will be contracted for follow up testing. We want to be sure that we are looking beyond obviously impacted areas and examining any other spaces that might have been overlooked during the initial inspection. The mitigation plan will be reviewed by CPS district administration and by Sam Lipson, the Public Health Department’s Director of Environment Health, to ensure that it includes proper isolation of rooms where removal will taking place and that any remaining concerns tied to mold and chronic moisture are properly addressed. 

For those of you who are interested in viewing the initial report shared by OHI earlier this week, please click here. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any additional questions or concerns. 

Sincerely,

Chad Leith