A press release from Cherokee County Superintendent Dr. Quincie L. Moore has addressed the toxic mold concerns, after an outcry on social media.
The District says they have not been alerted about the presence of dangerous mold in schools. However, all schools are being inspected as a precaution.
Cherokee County students and staff have been calling out sick from side effects of exposure to toxic mold, according to Spartanburg Senior Microbiologist Donnie Patterson. “I mean the teachers call it the mold cold,” he said.
Patterson says his family, that works and attends Cherokee County schools, have been sick for sometime with common signs of toxic fungus exposure.
“So you’ll see in the short-term people can just have almost like a viral illness, the normal common cold symptoms,” Family Medicine Physician Jarrell Nesmith told 7News. “Then chronically, it can actually develop into astham.”
Patterson took to social media to voice his concerns, after testing samples that teachers told him were taken from different schools. The samples revealed what he had suspected – mold.
According to Superintendent Moore she can’t prove the mold pictures, circling on social media, are from hallways in her district, but she is taking the concerns on Facebook very seriously.
“Immediately I asked the principals, in an email I sent them Sunday, to get with their custodial staff and walk their buildings and assess the entirety of the building… and see if there were any issues.” Moore told 7News.
Moore says schools are constantly undergoing inspections. However, in light of the toxic mold concerns, she made a decision to have all 21 schools reinspected.
“So if there is any kind of concern, we will take care of it immediately.” She said.
Still, Patterson argues teachers fear reporting the toxic mold, because it could get them fired. But Superintendent Moore disagrees.
“To think that anybody might feel unnerved to report something… that bothers me most, because we may have a problem,” Moore said.
According to the District, JMAC Environmental LLC is doing a comprehensive air quality test at all 21 schools. That will be complete this week and the District will receive the results in the next 2 weeks.
Press Release on behalf of Dr. Moore of the Cherokee County School District.
The safety and welfare of students and staff of the Cherokee County School District is our top priority. In keeping with the District’s goal to provide clean, safe and comfortable facilities, our maintenance and custodial staff inspect all schools on an ongoing basis to determine whether there is any mold, water damage, or other potential environmental concern. If a concern is observed, District staff take the necessary steps to remedy the problem, including, where appropriate, the involvement of outside companies.
Based on the age of many of our twenty-one buildings, those facilities can experience water-related problems, such as leaking roofs and old flooring. To remedy those and other age-related problems, the District began a construction program in 2013 that included repairing and replacing roofs, replacing chillers and boilers and other related HVAC equipment, and removing and replacing old carpet and tiles in many of our schools. The District will continue to make improvements and repairs to facilities as part of our yearly capital projects plan.
While the District has not been alerted to the presence of dangerous mold in any of our facilities, in light of recent social media posts alleging the presence of harmful mold in several schools, the District has decided to contract with an experienced and highly recommended private company, JMAC Environmental LLC, to conduct a comprehensive air quality test at each school as a precautionary and proactive measure. That testing has begun and will continue through this week. Once the testing has been completed, JMAC will provide a comprehensive written report, along with individual test reports. We anticipate receiving those reports within the next few weeks.
If there is an issue of concern in any school, JMAC will be asked to prepare a remediation plan and we will act accordingly and expeditiously. Our stakeholders can be assured that the District will take whatever steps necessary to keep students, teachers, and other staff members in a safe and healthy learning environment.