Mold delays return to classroom at Warren County school district

Some community members are asking for more transparency.
Mold delays return to classroom at Warren County school district
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 4:57 PM EDT
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WAYNESVILLE, Ohio (WXIX) - The start of the school year has been delayed for some students in the Wayne Local School District due to mold in classrooms.

Students at the district’s high school and junior high school are not expected to be back in the classroom until next week. Some parents, meanwhile, are asking for more transparency about the mold issues.

“We are proactive and we’ve acted with an abundance of caution to protect the entire school community. Our number one objective in this process is a healthy learning and work environment,” a district spokespersons said in a letter to parents late Friday. The spokesperson called the district’s approach “aggressive.”

The issues came to light after an HVAC control failure resulted in the discovery of surface mold in some classrooms in the high-school wing, according to a district spokesperson.

Superintendent Pat Dubbs says he was first made aware of the mold last Wednesday and immediately began working to make the building safe for students and staff.

“What we’ve done is that we’ve taken out every ceiling tile. We’ve had a crew come in, and they’ve done hand cleaning of all surfaces. And we also are having all of the carpets steamed cleaned. And then we’ll make a determination about whether that’s enough,” Dubbs said.

Austin Couch lives in Waynesville and attended Waynesville High School. He says some community members want their safety concerns heard by school officials.

“I just think honesty and transparency is really what everyone is looking for,” Couch said Thursday. “Really just being open about the whole situation and just being forward would be really nice.”

School inspection reports from the Warren County Health District going back to 2020 show no findings of mold.

Dubbs acknowledges multiple people have reached out to him wanting to know the mold level in the building but says that information is not available as the restoration process remains underway.

“Once all that is done, we are going to take those air samples, and then we are going to have things sent off to the lab, and then we’ll have a complete report that we can give to everybody, put in on our website for everyone to read,” he said.

The district’s letter notes air and surface samplings will be compiled into a report that will be released and posted online when ready.

The letter says the school will not reopen until the samplings indicate it’s safe to do so.

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