DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Though there is more work to be done, Darlington High School is well on its way to solving its mold problem.
On Friday, August 23, Darlington County School District spokeswoman released this statement on the progress of the clean-up efforts:
While the majority of the top floor is clean, there are still a few rooms that need additional work. Though those rooms are completely blocked off from the rest of the floor, we've decided not to move the students back in to the top floor yet. In an abundance of caution, we're going to wait until the entire top floor is given an "all-clear."
That may take a week or two more. We are not rushing the environmental clean-up crew. Rather, we're telling them to do what needs to be done and take the time that is needed to get it done right. We won't move students and staff back into the top floor until we are told it is safe to do so.
There are no indications at this point of black mold on the second floor.
Darlington High School was open on Monday despite the ongoing air quality issues which have presented challenges. Administrators discovered the issue was more widespread than originally believed when teachers returned to their classrooms last Tuesday.
For the past several weeks, Darlington High School has been treating mold, which they say was made worse by the high amount of rain this summer. The school district consulted with industrial hygiene experts, began the process of cleaning classrooms with specially recommended products, removing the carpets and installing industrial dehumidifiers.
"Nothing has changed - they're moving forward with the cleanup process," district spokesperson Audrey Childers said on Wednesday. "If all goes well, the upstairs to building one will be ready for students and faculty by Monday, depending on the air quality tests. Crews have done extensive clean up to the upstairs and they're just erring on the side of caution. Two rooms are not completely resolved."
"There is no indication of black mold at this time on the second floor," Childers said.
Quanderlyn Hannah stopped by the school to find out more after dropping her son off. "We went there it seemed to be a safe environment. They don't have the kids exposed to the main office where it is. We feel a little better about that," explained Hannah.
The environmental firm examined the other buildings on the high school campus and found them to be clear of any signs of mold problems. The classes and offices affected by the mold will be relocated to other classrooms on the school campus and adjoining district grounds, a representative from the school said.
The affected building, which is the main building, will not be accessible to students or faculty until it is treated and testing proves the problem is resolved. Some rooms could be cleared as early as Wednesday. The district notified the Department of Health and Environmental Control as part of their incident procedures.
"The well-being of our students and staff is the most important issue," said Dr. Eddie Ingram, superintendent of the Darlington County School District. "Our school and district personnel have come together to create a workable plan that will allow our students to begin school on time Monday morning while also assuring everyone is working and learning in a safe environment. I applaud their hard work. We will continue to monitor this situation closely."
Charles Moses has a daughter who attends the high school, and he said he feels it was good for the students to start on the first day of scheduled classes. "The district did a great job in getting the info out to the parents and making us aware of what was going on at Darlington High School."
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