Email from Chesterfield schools official: Process underway to improve air quality at Midlothian Middle School

Chesterfield County

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Crews are working to improve the air quality at Midlothian Middle School over the holiday break, according to an email sent from Chesterfield County Schools Chief Operating Officer Nita Mensia-Joseph to a parent.

The school was one of several with cooling towers that tested positive for Legionella bacteria in the fall of 2019. In the Dec. 20 email, the Chesterfield parent asked school officials when the school’s air ducts will be cleaned. 

RELATED: Chesterfield schools notified of issues with HVAC units before Legionella bacteria found

“We are cleaning half of the school over Christmas break and the remaining half over spring break,” Mensia-Joseph wrote in the email. “The vendor cannot get it all done over Christmas.”

Certain strains of legionella bacteria can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Midlothian Middle School tested positive with LP1, which experts say is the most severe strain.

In the fall, the health department confirmed 11 cases of Legionnaires’ disease but can’t confirm whether or not the cases are connected to the bacteria found in some schools.

8News reached out to the school district’s communications officer Shawn Smith for more information but calls were not returned. 

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