Before a standing-room-only crowd Tuesday, the school board discussed the air quality of Fawn Area Elementary School and possible solutions for a current mold problem.
Several parents pleaded with the board to do all it can to protect the health and welfare of their children. Harry and Shirley Coughenour said they have removed their two children from the school because of respiratory problems attributed to mold.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in people with sensitivity to mold exposure can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Even healthy people can experience upper-respiratory issues. Severe reactions can occur depending on the health of a person and the amount and type of mold, the CDC says.
"I want my (kids) to be safe," Harry Coughenour said. "It's a huge mistake to think three out of 10 is OK."
His numbers referenced information Supt. Rona Kaufmann had given the board from the district's air quality specialist. On a scale of 1-10 -- 10 being the most severe -- the company gave the school a 3, similar to the levels found in many homes, Kaufmann said. Fawn Area was the cleanest of the schools the company has tested so far, she added.
Some parents feared such a low ranking would deter the board form taking remedial action, but members said they are taking the situation as seriously as they have for other buildings. The district recently completed remedial work at Stewartstown Elementary and is preparing to do additional work at South Eastern Middle School West.
"We're not going to put a Band-Aid over a cut," board president Jennifer Tobias said.
The district must get to the root cause of the problem and fix it, she added.
The school board is awaiting additional information on clean-up measures for Fawn Area and the costs associated with them. Once that is available, the board will vote on major remedial work, which will likely take place this summer, Kaufmann said.
Until then, the district will place air purifiers in the affected classrooms and look into ideas suggested by parents, including using "Swiffers" to clean the rooms, moving students to other classrooms and transferring students to other elementary schools.
If you go
Some Fawn Area Elementary School parents are organizing a town meeting to discuss the air quality of the school.
The meeting will be held 6 p.m. April 16 at the Fawn Grove Recreation Center, North Market Street.
Dr. Colleen Pietrowski will present information on the importance of indoor air quality and the dangers of mold.