Mould gone in Nelson elementary school, concerns remain

Work at Hume Elementary has been ongoing since mould was discovered in September. - Bob Hall photo
Work at Hume Elementary has been ongoing since mould was discovered in September.
— image credit: Bob Hall photo

Even though work to remediate mould found at Hume Elementary School is complete, parents remain concerned.

Superintendent of School District #8 Jeff Jones hopes a meeting with Work Safe BC, Interior Health, the Hume Parent Advisory Committee and parents of the school will provide answers and peace of mind.

“We’ve been working with Work Safe BC and Interior Health all along through the whole process and they are the ones who would have advised us if we should not use the school,” said Jones.

Mould was discovered in the crawlspace below the lunchroom at Hume in September. Since then, the mould has been removed, the area washed down and sealed.

“That part of the work is done and we’re very pleased with that,” said Jones. “But there are some parents whose concerns haven’t been allayed.”

Air quality samples are still being taken at the school as they have all along before, during and after the work “to make sure the school is a safe work and learning environment,” Jones said. “Tests have shown that the air quality is as good or better than what you would have outside.”

There was a recent spike in one area of the school, however, with a higher percentage of fungal contaminant in the air on December 19. Measurements were still not in the danger zone, said Jones. Even so, in that area of the school, they took extra precautions to clean the air, wipe down surfaces and take more samples. Subsequent tests showed amounts going down to a more acceptable level.

The kindergarten class was moved away from that space “on the side of caution,” said the superintendent.

There were also a couple students who suffered increased incidences of asthma that could be due to a higher level of sensitivity to contaminants in the air, said Jones.

“We’re confident that it’s the way it should be now and we’re moving forward,” he said.

Meeting with the Parent Advisory Committee and parents of the school will serve two-fold — to alleviate concerns about air quality still existing among some parents with reps from Work Safe BC and Interior Health on board to provide information. Also, the school district wants help determining how to proceed with the space being rebuilt now that mould is gone to make it one the school and community will use.

“We are very concerned that our community feel safe in the school. We’re going to have that meeting and I hope that will allay some concerns and we can move on from there,” said Jones.

The meeting has yet to be scheduled.



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