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Rutland school replacing roof over mold concerns - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Rutland school replacing roof over mold concerns

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RUTLAND, Vt. -

"Mold is found everywhere," said Lori Cragin, a state epidemiologist. "It's found inside, it's found outside; it's what breaks down leaves and things, so it's important."

One other place it was found-- a kindergarten classroom at Northwest Primary School in Rutland. Administrators say yearly testing revealed the presence of mold spores in October in the corridor next to the classroom. They say they immediately took action.

"We have taken every measure that we should," said Mary Moran of Rutland City Public Schools. "I know it's of concern to people. We have tried to allay people's concerns."

That included notifying parents with a letter saying that the school's priority is "maintaining high standards for student's health and well-being."

Reporter Elizabeth Keatinge: Were children exposed at any time to mold?

Mary Moran: We don't believe so. And the mold spore count in the classroom was lower than the outside air on the two days that we actually did the testing.

Students were moved to another classroom and construction began to remove and redo the roof, which was built 30 years ago. Administrators say tests revealed that the roof was leaking and causing a moisture issue. Officials say that's what is behind the mold problem.

Health department officials say the health risks due to exposure to mold can vary.

"Sensitive populations could be affected by mold, so people who might have allergies to it could be affected, so they would get a runny nose, itchy eyes... hay fever-type symptoms," Cragin said.

The EPA, the state and the CDC have no standards set for the fungus. Although they say most people are not affected by it, they agree that the school is making the right move by fixing the problem as quickly as possible.

"Mold is something that could be taken care of, regardless of the type or number of spore counts. We should stop the water from getting in and from growing," Cragin said.

School officials say they are doing everything possible to protect students' health.

"The safety issue, we believe, our experts have handled very, very well," Moran said.

The school superintendent we spoke with says that once construction is done, the room may be used for a multipurpose room. The class will remain where it is for the rest of this year, as school officials do not want to make students move again. The class will not stay where it is next year as that is the art/music space. It will likely go into a vacant classroom in the main building.

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