RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Public Schools (RPS) is moving forward on its plan to address mold that staff members and parents say have been plaguing several of the district’s schools.
At a Monday, Oct. 16 school board meeting, even more parents and teachers came forward to talk about their experiences dealing with mold inside Richmond school buildings.
“It’s reality-shaking and it’s scary,” said one of the speakers about the mold. “These conditions are scary and dangerous. But we have to face that.”
After having discussed what to do about the mold since September, board member Elizabeth Doerr recommended adopting a motion to continue full building mold tests at schools of concern — and even possibly conducting full tests in every one of RPS’s buildings.
RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras pushed back against the latter idea, saying that the process is expensive and that not every school needs testing.
“I think the question at issue here is if the board would want to spend the money to do full building tests across the school division,” said Kamras. “I would respectfully suggest not to do so. For example, we are currently in an almost brand new building, I don’t think it would necessarily make sense for us to do that.”
The board adopted the motion with Kamras’ recommendation and tasked him with producing a list of RPS schools which don’t need to be tested.
Testing has already been done at Boushall Middle School, where a parent said her son came home from school with mold on his jacket one day after it touched a desk which was covered in mold, as well as Clark Springs Elementary School.
A spokesperson for France Environmental, the company that did the testing at Boushall and Clark Springs, was present at the meeting and provided more insight on the company’s findings. The spokesperson explained why the company only tested some rooms and how they determined that there was not mold amplification in the air.
“It’s overkill to sample every single room if you have similar situation in every room, because you’re working off the same HVAC units,” said the spokesperson. “We’re doing a comparison from the outside to the inside. And, you know, ideally, we should see the same spore counts or less inside a building than we do outside.”
More RPS schools, including Maymont Preschool, Woodville Elementary School and Elizabeth D. Redd Elementary School, are set to undergo full buildings tests beginning this week.