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Mold test results on agenda for Halifax County trustees

SoVaNow.com / September 09, 2013
Test results for mold at Halifax County High School will top the agenda tonight when the School Board gathers for its regular monthly meeting at the Mary Bethune Complex.

The testing, conducted by HDH Technical of Christiansburg, was ordered by the School Board in the wake of complaints by students, parents and staff about conditions at the high school, especially around the building’s A wing, where an outbreak of mold was reported over the summer.

Building Maintenance director Larry Roller said last week that he expected to have a report from HDH interpreting the test results to present to trustees Monday night.

Roller said the tests should reveal the types of mold that may exist in the building, and compare the prevalence of indoor mold to conditions outside the building, to give trustees a better idea of the severity of the problem.

“You look to see if it’s the same thing inside as it is outside, that kind of thing,” said Roller.

As of Friday, school officials said they had not received word on HDH’s findings, although Roller said he thought it was possible that the firm might issue a preliminary interpretation of the test results. He said he expected to have a full report to present to trustees Monday.

Air quality experts with HDH tested for mold last Tuesday at HCHS. On Wednesday, the School Board held a special meeting to hear from John Owen, a Lynchburg air quality specialist who assisted with the cleanup at Jefferson Forest High School in Bedford when that school was forced to temporarily close more than a decade ago due to a mold outbreak.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Merle Herndon said Sunday that she would be calling HDH first thing Monday morning to find out what she can report back to the School Board this evening.

After Wednesday’s special call meeting, Herndon said she had had very good conversations with employees and parents about the mold issue, and she expressed gratitude that they have come forward with their concerns.

“I’m a data person and the more I know about things, the better off we all are,” said Herndon.

Tonight’s School Board meeting will start at 6 p.m. and take place at the second floor meeting room of the Bethune complex.

In other business, trustees will hear a report on the opening of school from Deputy Superintendent Valdiva Marshall, as well as a report from Nancy Zirkle on the school division’s federal annual measurable objectives (AMOs). The benchmark replaces the annual yearly progress (AYP) results that were required under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Zirkle is also expected to advise trustees on the number of out-of-zone students who attend county elementary schools. The high number of out-of-zone enrollments last year necessitated the hiring of an additional teacher at one elementary.

Also, Lori Hale is expected to advise trustees on USDA fresh fruit and vegetable program grants, which are provided each year to some county elementary schools.

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The USDA needs to give better food. If you have ever eaten at a public school, you will know that the lunches that they serve today are total cr#p!. What ever happened to the time when the caferteria workers actually cooked? Made homemade bread every day? We need to stand up against this "healthy" food an make them serve food that is fit to eat!


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