RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The ongoing mold issues at Richmond Public Schools are now prompting two Election Day polling sites to move locations.
The mold issues — which teachers and parents first brought to light weeks ago — have prompted the Richmond Electoral Board to make the decision to move two of their Election Day polling sites at Richmond Schools to other locations.
Richmond’s Office of Elections sent out a release Monday, Oct. 2 that said the polling locations will be moved because of air quality concerns at those schools.
Those looking to vote on Nov. 7 at Boushall Middle School will now have to go to Hickory Hill Community Center. In addition, the polling site at Clark Springs Elementary School is now moving to VCU Student Commons.
The mold is an issue Boushall Middle School parent LaKeisha Williams has complained about multiple times. Williams has called this recent news disheartening.
“If the Board of Elections feels that just for a person to come through, in a few minutes to cast that ballot, is an unsafe environment to go through the building, then I feel that RPS should take a different approach to this matter,” Williams said.
The Office of Elections said their decision to move the locations was “due to the presence of unhealthy air quality conditions at the previous assigned voting locations.”
When 8News reached out for further comment the registrar for the City of Richmond, Keith Balmer said he doesn’t have anything to add except he “looks forward to speaking with the superintendent regarding this matter.”
A spokesperson for Richmond Public Schools told 8News in a statement they’re currently waiting for the final report for Clark Springs Elementary School, but believe the Clark Springs and Boushall are both safe environments for students and staff to be in.
The full response reads as follows:
“The safety and well-being of our students and staff is our top priority at Richmond Public Schools. As soon as we were made aware of concerns, we ordered mold testing and addressed any clearly visible signs of mold growth. We expect to receive the final report back from our vendor today, but they have confirmed that none of the air samples in the school are any higher than those outside in the fresh air. Given this, we continue to believe that Clark Springs is a safe environment for students and staff, as well as Boushall, whose report is posted on BoardDocs. Of course, we will follow any and all recommendations from the vendor’s final report, which I will forward once I receive it. The Electoral Board did not communicate with the division in advance of making their decision.”Matthew Stanely, Director of Advocacy and Outreach for Richmond Public Schools
Boushall’s recent tests showed no mold in the air space, but did show mold growth on ceiling tiles in the registrar’s office and in a non-food storage room in the kitchen that has since been removed.
As this latest development unfolds, staff and families caught in the crossfire just want it to be over and action to be taken.
“I just need to state to step up. I need representatives. And I also need parents to get out, be engaged, go to your children’s school and know what’s going on,” Williams said.