Capital High School Air Quality Information

  • News
  • Briana Warner
  • 9/18/2017

Capital High School

HVAC, Maintenance Improvement & Air Quality Meeting

Monday, September 18, 2017

3:30 p.m.

Larry Bailey, Capital High School principal – general overview

  • Elevated levels of CO2 and mold were initially found in three of our classrooms here at Capital High School. Those affected classrooms were closed for cleaning while air quality testing was conducted throughout the entire building.
  • Those results came in to us today, so we organized a meeting for teachers, parents and media.
  • We wanted to get everyone together to go over as much information as possible, be completely transparent and also let you know action steps that will be taken to address any concerns.
  • Air quality testing in 60 rooms, or a little under 1/3 of the school’s educational and administrative spaces, came back with elevated levels of CO2 or mold. (60 out of 188).
  • Our maintenance staff and consultants have been able to get the CO2 levels under control, however the mold levels still need reduced.
  • The cause is unknown at this time, but crews are investigating the root cause.
  • Capital High School opened for class in 1989, so is almost 30 years old.
  • We have several folks here today that can cover some additional details and answer your questions. Pinnacle Environmental Consultants did our air quality testing and ASTAR Abatement & Insulation will handle the cleanup, possibly with the help of another abatement service company.

Christopher Belcher, Pinnacle Environmental – update on testing

  • Pinnacle sampled nearly every room throughout the building. The building is 25,000 sq. ft. Air quality tests were conducted on Aug. 29 and Sept. 6-8. Due to the hurricane, results from 6th were delayed.
  • Testing is completed with a battery-operated vacuum pump that traps spores on a cassette. They send to a lab and the lab analyzes the cassette. They compare the levels indoors to the levels outdoors. You want the levels indoors to be equal to or lower than outside. They took 148 samples total and 60 had higher levels than outside. So we’re going to start addressing as soon as this evening.

Stanley Mills, Kanawha-Charleston Health Department Environmental Services Director – general health information

  • Mold is a mysterious thing – we don’t know for sure what levels are OK, we just know that indoors should be lower than outdoors. Our office follows the Center for Disease Control standards. What’s normal? There is no normal. Areas of high humidity create higher levels.
  • Is there a health concern? For people with asthma or allergic reaction to molds/mildews, there could be. If you think you’re being affected, please see your family physician. What I can tolerate will be different from the person right beside of me. Reactions depend on your health and lung function. CDC.gov has additional resources on guidelines. Start with family practice doctor. They know your health and whether you have issues. They’ll put you in the right place.

Gregory Pauley, ASTAR Abatement & Insulation – action steps

  • Cleanup Process
    • In rooms with elevated levels, we create an environment of negative pressure and vacuum seal so nothing escapes. We then clean all surfaces and treat with fungicide. We leave air scrubbers in rooms for 24 hours, Pinnacle will then do follow up testing to see whether cleaning was adequate.

Larry Bailey – announcement about school, next steps, open the floor to questions

  • A paper is available from the school with the rooms with elevated levels.
  • We take these results very seriously and so out of an abundance of caution and to let our cleanup crews do their work, we are going to close Capital High School for the remainder of the week. So for all students and teachers, there will be no school the rest of this week – Sept 19-22. At the end of the week, we’ll evaluate progress and send an update to parents.
  • All parents will receive communication about the closure and we’ll be preparing a question and answer document at the conclusion of the meeting so that everyone can get the information that was covered here today. That document will be made available on the Kanawha County Schools website just as soon as possible.
  • Parents and teachers will receive an update from me at the end of this week.
    • Athletic events & practices will continue at their normally scheduled time in their regular locations. The gym did not have elevated levels of mold.
    • Goal is to be cleaned by Monday. We’ll know more by end of week.
    • Days for students most likely will not be tacked onto the end of the school year. We’ll look to make up the work in the year.
    • Source? KCS looking at HVAC system, work on separate issues to identify source.
    • Is there a concern that this could come back? That’s always a concern, but we have a crew of people on this trying to get to the bottom of it.