Concerns about air quality forces Washington County school to go remote for rest of week; report finds mold at school


PLYMOUTH, N.C. (WNCT) – Washington County Schools Superintendent Linda Jewell Carr announced Wednesday that one of its schools would switch to remote learning for the rest of the week due to air quality concerns.

Carr said air quality reports given to the Washington County School Board Tuesday night from Piedmont Group indicated concerns over the status of Pines Elementary. As a result, remote learning would be in place through Friday for students and instructional staff.

HVAC photos from Pines Elementary (Piedmont Service Group photos submitted to Washington County Schools)

A report prepared for Washington County Schools from Piedmont Service Group in Raleigh was shared with WNCT’s Ariana Kraft. The report states mold and fungal growth found in numerous locations and multiple roof leaks and condensation issues. Some of the HVAC returns were blocked with debris and carbon dioxide levels indicate more fresh air is needed.

CLICK HERE to see the full report.

Air quality experts and cleaning companies have been contacted and will be touring the facility this week. School officials said cafeteria staff from Pines will be directed where to report and custodial staff should report in the morning at the maintenance office for work assignments for the remainder of the week.

Officials said they will reach out to parents, staff, and students with a plan moving forward for next week for Pines Elementary School. Curbside Meal Delivery will be available at Creswell Elementary School, Washington County Middle School and Washington County High School. School administrators are also working on a plan to locate students who wish to continue in-person learning at different schools in the county.

In the meantime, Carr said they are working with the Plymouth town manager, county commissioners and the health department on how to proceed. Leaders said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a new environmental air quality study for school buildings and facilities due to COVID-19.

“The safety of our students and staff is important and serious, and we take that to heart, and so we’re going to do what we need to do to make sure that they’re in a safe environment, and we’re just gonna work together as a team, and we’re on it,” Carr said.

It is a regular school day with both face-to-face as well as remote learning at all other school sites.

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