Possible Mold Infestation Closes Langdon, N.H., School

Possible Mold Infestation Closes Langdon, N.H., School

Source: http://www.redorbit.com, February 26, 2006
By: Josh Adams, Eagle Times, Claremont, N.H.

Concerns over a possible mold infestation at the Sarah Porter School in Langdon have prompted the school district to close the building for at least a portion of next week.

SAU 60 Superintendent Joe Della Badia confirmed Thursday that students will attend classes at the Vilas Middle School in Alstead for at least three days when they return from winter break on Monday. Tests for mold and other contaminants were done Wednesday, Della Badia said, and the results will not be known until Friday or Monday.

The decision to close the building is a precautionary measure, Della Badia said.

“At this point we don’t know whether there’s mold or any airborne contaminants at all,” Della Badia said.

Destry Bardis is the parent of a second-grader at the school who contacted district administrators about a possible mold problem. Bardis said Thursday she became concerned when her daughter complained of headaches, stomach aches and skin rashes that seemed to occur only while in the school.

“After coming home, within a few hours the rashes would disappear,” Bardis said.

Other parents and even some teachers at the school relayed similar concerns to her, Bardis said. Bardis said she could not recall the names of the parents and declined to name the teachers.

Exactly 30 students attend the Sarah Porter School, Della Badia said. To accommodate the children at the Vilas Middle School, the first- and second-grade students will use the home economics room there. Students in the third- and fourth-grade will occupy the library, Della Badia said.

While students from the Sarah Porter School are in the middle school library, students will not be able to access the library.

Carol Bennett is the principal of both the Sarah Porter School and the Vilas Middle School. Bennett could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Jim Martin, spokesperson for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, said there is not an allowable standard for mold contamination.

“All indoor mold growth is potentially problematic and should be removed promptly,” Martin said.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Web site, symptoms of exposure to mold include nasal congestion, skin irritation, wheezing and eye irritation.

If the tests conclude the school is contaminated, Della Badia said all necessary steps would be taken to resolve the problem. How the district would fund a potential cleanup is not yet known, Della Badia said.

“If we have to do that, we’ll have to fund it, obviously,” Della Badia said.

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