CEA president ‘confident’ with Chesterfield schools’ response to concerns of Legionella bacteria

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The president of the Chesterfield Education Association said Thursday that she believes the school system did nothing wrong in its response to the discovery of strains of Legionella bacteria at seven county schools.

Sonia Smith told 8News her job as Chesterfield Education Association president is to ensure a safe learning environment for teachers and students. Smith explained that advocating for teachers with concerns is a big part of her role as the president.

Smith feels the district is adequately taking care of any problem with Legionella bacteria.

“I’m confident in their work,” she said. “Understanding that there was a lapse in time with maintenance and the fact that these major issues weren’t handled for a period of time and then they were discovered and now they’re being handled.”

When asked whether she believes Chesterfield schools made any mistakes, Smith said her concerns are not with the school system.

“I don’t know that the district did anything wrong,” she told 8News. “My concern is with the county.”

Smith pointed at county supervisors, saying they’ve overlooked concerns raised in the past.

“For me, there’s a concern that if reports that are shared by the school division to the county, and the county doesn’t respond to a timely fashion, that’s where I take issue,” Smith explained.

Moving forward, Smith said she hopes there’s enough money and manpower to maintain the schools better in the future.

Smith said a few Chesterfield union teachers have reached out for help. She told 8News their concerns are being looked into.

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