Horry County Schools staff to undergo indoor air quality training to avoid mold issues

Horry County Schools staff to undergo indoor air quality training to avoid mold issues

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – As the new school year begins, Horry County Schools is making sure students are healthy inside the classrooms.

During Monday night’s school board meeting, one topic of discussion was indoor air quality. It comes after a mold problem inside classrooms at St. James Elementary School caused children to get sick last school year.

“Currently, there are no federal regulations or guidelines for mold concentration and mold spores,” explained Mark Wolfe, the executive director of facilities and maintenance for the school district.

Wolfe said they’ve used resources from the Centers for Disease Control, OSHA and others as a reference while building the Indoor Air Quality Program.

“The EPA which has a particular document called Indoor Air Quality: Tools for Schools," Wolfe said. "And a lot of our program was taken from information in this document. They also have mold remediation in schools and commercial buildings document that we referred to.”

The school district also received guidance from larger school systems who had their staff certified in Indoor Air Quality training.

“We kind of looked at other similar school districts on how they handle indoor air quality and looked to Greenville County and the procedures that they had. They were able to take their employees and work with their local technical college to get that certification done,” said Horry County Schools spokesperson Lisa Bourcier.

The district said it created teams throughout the school district to make sure that air quality remains at acceptable levels.

“We have 15 team members, almost 600 hours of training. They are certified in mold and mildew assessment and remediation,” said Bourcier.

The teams, which consist of HVAC technicians and nurses, received certification through a partnership with Horry-Georgetown Technical College.

The program calls for all HCS staff to undergo a form of Indoor Air Quality training.

Currently, there's a response procedure in place that will continue to be refined as the program evolves.

“Whenever someone reports some sort of air quality issue, they’re to report that to their principal first. This assures the principal knows what is going on and to make sure that there is some sort of a complaint,” Wolfe said.

After this, the person filing the complaint will fill out a survey so more information can become known for the Indoor Air Quality teams to respond.

Bourcier said the district wants to make sure it can better assess the situation faster and be able to solve problems sooner.

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