Parents still concerned over mold at St. James Elementary, inspector talks mold removal

Published: Feb. 6, 2019 at 6:58 PM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Parents are still searching for answers weeks after a second round of testing was done at St, James Elementary School and just days after cleaning was done in the school as the district says was recommended by third party professionals.

"Did they actually test it after they cleaned? Is it safe for our kids to be there? Because it just doesn't seem like it is,” said Stefeny Wackerly.

She kept her child home from school today because she said she’s uncertain what remains in the school and she wants answers beyond the cleaning done this weekend.

"I would like to know the count, the mold spore count. I would like to know what was grown specifically, not just the recommendations for the company that were treating it,” said Kristy Roderick, another parent who kept her child home today.

WMBF News reporter Marissa Tansino reached out the Horry County Schools and asked if they know what the root of the mold problem is and if a clearance test was done after the cleaning.

PAST COVERAGE: Parents want to see air quality results from St. James Elementary

A spokesperson for the district said, “We combat mold growth from maintaining moderate temperature and humidity, proper air circulation, cleaning and addressing water leaks when found. We have not yet set a date on when a re-test will be conducted.”

The e-mail the principal sent to parents indicated how many areas in the school were recommended to be cleaned and the fact that cleaning was expected to take place over the weekend in those recommended areas.

In the partial report attached to that email, the company made recommendations to determine the root of the problem and advised the school to figure out what caused the mold and moisture in certain areas. It’s unclear what the problem causing the mold was or if it was ever determined.

PAST COVERAGE: Over 20 areas in Saint James Elementary to be cleaned following reports of mold

John Hart owns and operates Ocean Breezes Home Inspections and said it doesn’t matter how much you clean. Cleaning will only serve as a short term solution until you find the root of the problem, where the mold is coming from and fix it.

“Roof leaks, plumbing leaks, underneath in crawl spaces, any moisture intrusions that are possible because we got to eliminate that,” said Hart “Again, if you try to clean up the mold and not do that, you’re going to have a reoccurring problem.”

The principal of Saint James Elementary School sent an email to parents after the Jan. 21 testing indicating that 23 areas were recommended to be cleaned. The school district said 93 samples were taken in different places around the school.

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