ANDERSON – Anderson Community Schools closed Edgewood Elementary School for the remainder of the week to allow for a thorough cleaning of the building after mold was found during recent roof leak inspections.
“At no time were students or staff exposed to harmful contaminants in the classroom setting,” Anderson Community Schools Superintendent Timothy Smith said in a letter sent to parents on Wednesday.
According to the letter, a mechanical issue with the roof and roof drains had caused some leaking and damage to the soffit areas in a classroom. Mold spores were found growing on three or four areas of the ceiling in the affected area, Smith told The Herald Bulletin.
“My biggest fear when I got the call was there would be 30 years of growth in the ceiling, but it wasn’t that at all,” he said.
“While the sample showed the presence of common household mold, ACS always chooses to err on the side of safety regarding the clean up process, “the letter said.
That’s why the school was closed temporarily and prepared for testing of every room.
The discovery of the mold triggered air quality testing last week to ensure no harm would come to students and staff. On Tuesday, ACS officials learned one of the multiple samples registered a higher than normal amount of airborne contaminant.
However, testing done since then shows mold levels to be lower than normal, Smith said.
“The air quality in the classrooms actually is better than when you walk outside,” he said.
The roof and drain structures already were scheduled to be replaced as part of the building improvement program approved by voters in a May referendum. Work was scheduled to start as early as next week when the drain will be patched until the entire roofing system is replaced, Smith said.
He said he’s not certain when roofing will begin because ACS is using the same company that currently is working on the roof at D26 Career Center. Smith said it is possible the company could send out a second crew to work on Edgewood.
In addition to the physical repairs to the roof at Edgewood Elementary School, district officials are trying to figure out how to handle the loss of instructional time required under state law. State law requires 180 days of classroom time.
Anderson Community Schools Superintendent Timothy Smith said the district is applying to the Indiana Department of Education for a waiver.
“Our guess is they will give us one or two days,” he said.
For any additional days that will need to be made up, Smith said, eLearning days likely will be used. Those allow students extended time to complete assignments at home using school-issued devices, such as iPads or Chromebooks.
Any makeup days will be completed before the end of the calendar year, Smith said.