CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield residents concerned about legionella bacteria discovered at county schools were told there’s no ongoing health crisis – but many feel differently.
Parents told 8News many of their children have health issues and they’re scared that the bacteria discovered will only make matters worse.
Chanting ‘Save our Kids,’ parents protested Tuesday night with signs that read ‘No more sick schools,’ following reports that some Chesterfield County institutions tested positive with legionella.
“I’m here because I’m worried about the conditions my son is in,” one parent told 8News.
A letter from Chesterfield County Schools to Mataoca High School parents and staff said that legionella is more likely to affect those over the age of 50 and those with weak immune systems.
That declaration is troubling for many parents of students enrolled in Chesterfield schools.
“I have a son with diverse needs and already has health issues,” a parent confessed to 8News. “So the fact that he may be in an environment that’s perhaps making his issues worse and its been known, is terrifying to me.”
Pamela Neil attended the rally Tuesday night and wondered how the bacteria would effect older adults picking up their kids or relatives?
“What about the parents and grandparents who go in to pick up the kids?” Neil asked. “And they might be older like I am. We’re in there and breathing the stuff and we’re the kind of people it kills.”
Chesterfield elementary school closed as health officials investigate presence of Legionella bacteria
Chesterfield County School Board says they’re addressing the problem.
“In addition to the work done at the three school sites with positive tests, we proactively cleaned cooling towers at 34 different schools that were not in a geographical area identified for legionella testing, we have also developed a preventative maintenance plan so we can continue our expectations for a high quality learning environment,” said Robert Thompson, chair of Chesterfield County School Board.
Matoaca and L.C. Bird High School were two schools that were cleaned after testing positive for legionella. However, follow-up tests revealed the schools tested positive once again.
“It’s disgusting, it’s despicable, it’s unethical, and it must no longer be tolerated,” one protester told 8News.
For some students, they just want to go to school with no worries.
“I just want clean schools too,” said Gianna Gordon, “so we can learn in the best possible air.”