Walton Elementary parent concerned by mold; timeline for replacement: ‘Don’t know how I’m going to cope with it’

Taking Action

PRINCE GEORGE, Va. (WRIC) — 8News continues to dig into the issues of chronic mold and elevated carbon dioxide levels inside a Prince George Elementary School.

8News reported Tuesday that the Prince George Board of Supervisors agreed to give the school district $1 million dollars to kickstart work a new elementary school. It will replace W.A. Walton Elementary, which is currently dealing with extremely high levels of mold and CO2.

However, that development is years away.

For one parent within the Walton Elementary community, she worries about how long the project will take – telling 8News she may move to protect her kids.

“We didn’t know last year, that that’s what was happening,” said Melissa Face. She has two kids who attend W.A. Walton Elementary. “He was coming home with skin peeling off of his eyelids”

For a while, Face didn’t know what was causing her son Evan’s allergies.

“We went back and had him retested and they told us that his ragweed, of course, was really high and his mold was really high.”

Then it all made sense.

“We know it’s coming from his environment now.”

A Taking Action investigation revealed mold was found in one in five classrooms at Walton. Students and teachers were been moved to trailers for their own safety. 8News learned some teachers were even instructed to leave their windows open and constantly monitor the carbon dioxide levels in their classrooms.

While officials plan to replace the school, projections suggest the year 2023 as the earliest the school could open.

“If it’s going to be another two years or another three years, what are they gonna do? Face asked.

8News asked the Prince George Board of Supervisors chairman Donald Hunter the same question last week in an interview. His response: “It won’t actually be open for several years, so, hopefully, it won’t be several years. But that’s the reason we’re willing to give some upfront money now so they can start working on the basic design no matter where it goes.”

In the interim, the district has moved students from dangerous classrooms into trailers. However, 8News obtained a letter sent to parents Tuesday, in which the principal said unsafe mold levels forced officials to also close the school gymnasium.

“I don’t know how I’m going to cope with it,” Face said. “I can’t say for certain that we will see it through if the plan is that long.”

The letter also states that fans in the HVAC system will be set to run continuously and says because of the levels, a contractor is investigating if the HVAC system is even working properly.

A special meeting will be held tomorrow night to further the issues surrounding W.A. Walton Elementary with concerned families on Thursday night.

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