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HCS bringing in third party to clean after mold found at St. James Elementary again

Published: Feb. 27, 2019 at 11:10 PM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The school district is executing another action plan after mold was found amplified in one St. James Elementary School classroom for the fourth time in the last few months.

A report sent in the form of an email to parents contained test results from the Reading Room and Room E100. This comes after cleaning was done again in those areas and a retest was conducted back on Feb. 18.

The report from Palmetto EHS states, “Aspergillus/Penicillium mold spores were amplified in Room E100 on the day of our visit. Athough this level is not dangerous, it does indicate the presence of an indoor source of Aspergillus/Penicillium that needs to be removed.”

WMBF News dug into the reports with Gerrid Clark from Best Breathing, a local mold and air quality company. He compared the levels of this species of mold from the four rounds of testing done since November 30, 2018.

"The levels of penicillium aspergillus at the start, you're at a 549 at the beginning and up here you're at 2430, that should not be happening,” said Clark.

Clark said it’s not uncommon to see some level of mold inside, but not to this extent and that it could happen for a number of reasons.

"That just means somewhere along the lines some air treatments have not been quite done yet or they’re testing too quick,” Clark said.

Palmetto EHS made a number of recommendations in their report the school district said they’re going to follow.

“A wooden cabinet, cardboard boxes, and paper should be removed from the room. The only items left in the room should be metal or plastic, which can easily be cleaned,” Palmetto EHS stated in the recommendations.

The school district also said they’re bringing in a third party professional to clean Saturday. Students have been relocated to a different classroom in the meantime and the district said they’ll stay there until the results show normal levels.

A re-test will be conducted during the week of March 4. The district said because the company can’t test when it’s raining, they have not scheduled an exact date yet.

The school district also said they are working to find a firm to help Horry County Schools formalize air quality practices, conduct testing if necessary and serve as a resource for staff and the board.

Spokesperson Lisa Bourcier said they’ll have an update on that process at upcoming school board meetings.

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