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Sporting Hill Elementary school to reopen Thursday mold concerns

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa.– UPDATE (September 6): Sporting Hill Elementary School will reopen on Thursday after mold concerns.

The Cumberland Valley School District posted this message on its website:

Attention Sporting Hill Elementary School families: Sporting Hill Elementary School will open and operate on a normal schedule tomorrow, Thursday, September 6, 2018. The building has been thoroughly cleaned and additional visual inspections completed. As an added precaution, we will continue to run dehumidifiers throughout the building, in addition to our daily cleanings and inspections. We truly cannot express enough our appreciation for your patience and understanding over the last two days. Thank you.

PREVIOUSLY: Sporting Hill Elementary School will be closed today due to mold.

According to a message posted on the Cumberland Valley School District’s website, mold was discovered in two classrooms on Tuesday, prompting an early dismissal of students and cleaning of the areas.

Now, the school will remain closed on Wednesday as it awaits air quality reports.

Below is the message the district posted:

Dear Sporting Hill Elementary School families:

Earlier today, in addition to being confronted with continued hot and humid weather, we discovered the presence of mold in two classrooms at Sporting Hill Elementary School – Classroom #110 and #102. As you are aware, the decision was made to dismiss students early so that crews were able to begin a thorough and comprehensive cleaning of the building, to replace ceiling tiles, to complete remediation, and to do both pre- and post-testing of air quality conditions.

Visual inspections did not reveal mold in any other areas of the school. However, as we await air quality reports and as we continue a thorough cleaning and remediation, Sporting Hill Elementary School will remain CLOSED on Wednesday, September 5, 2018. Sporting Hill staff should follow reporting instructions as outlined in today’s staff meeting and in the email from Mrs. Shaddock.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation for your understanding and support during this time and always. We sincerely understand the challenges faced by many families during times of unanticipated school schedule changes. Please know that at the heart of each of our choices is our desire to make the best possible decision for all of our students and staff.

As a follow-up to our earlier message, I would like to also take some time to answer some of the more commonly asked questions regarding our decision.

How was mold discovered?
The mold was first discovered in classroom #110 and reported by a staff member. Students did not enter this classroom today. Mold was discovered in room #102 as a result of the visual inspection. Those students were immediately moved to an alternate location upon discovery.

We believe the mold is the result of increased humidity levels within the building caused by pipes that began to sweat, dripping condensation onto ceiling tiles.

What has Cumberland Valley done to prevent mold growth?
Cumberland Valley School District has been extremely proactive in combatting mold. Intensive visual searches, proactive dehumidification, and thorough cleanings occurred throughout the summer, in combination with daily cleanings and inspections.

Mold that was clearly not present during summer cleaning can develop unseen. It is important to remember that mold can grow in as little as 24 to 48 hours, sometimes not accompanied by musty smells and not easily seen in well-lit spaces. Our recent weather conditions, in conjunction with the three-day weekend, were ideal for mold development.

What is the District doing to prevent similar situations in the future?
We will continue to complete thorough daily cleanings and checks of the buildings. This includes places like storage closets, desks, furniture, and carpeting. Additionally, we will conduct air quality checks to ensure that these preventative measures are successful.

We appreciate your continued support and understanding, and we will provide you with any additional updates as necessary.

Sincerely,
Patty Hillery, Ed.D
Assistant Superintendent