Parents frustrated over possibility of mold in classrooms

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Some parents in the Valley are deeply concerned about the possibility of mold inside their children's classrooms. And with the chance of more rain on the way, it has added a sense of urgency at Terramar Elementary near Happy Valley and 67th Avenue in Peoria.

Parents said this isn't the first time they've had this issue.

In fact, they said they believe it's a leak in the building that hasn't been fixed for a couple of years. And although the district said there isn't any mold in the building from last week’s storm, some parents said they don't believe it.

"I want to be more reassured that my kids are in a safe environment," said Dex Nolan.

Nolan said she has a 13-year-old and a 10-year-old at Terramar Elementary, but she kept them home from school Monday.

"Partly to make a statement and because I have seen mold there,” she said. “They can't tell me there's no mold, and that makes me not trust them when they say there isn't mold. I have seen mold."

Nolan said she can't help but be concerned about her kids' health. "The long-term effects," she said.

Especially since the district admits water did seep into the buildings after last week's storm.

Deer Valley Unified School District told 3TV that they had air quality and mold tests done. According to the district: "Results of the tests indicate there is no mold to water-damaged areas and the air quality pretest indicated that the building is safe for our students and staff."

But Parent Teacher Student Association president Lisa Best said she did some of her own research.

"This is a mold sample of something that was taken out of one of the classrooms," said Best. "I basically took a home mold test.”

Best said she will be presenting the results to the district during a community meeting Monday night, where the district plans to talk to parents and community members concerned about the condition of Terramar Elementary since the last storm.

"I only can hope that today they come back with some answers for us because I don't know,” said Best. “I just know what I see and what the teachers are telling me, and I feel like it is our jobs as advocates to make sure we're doing this."

That meeting will be held in the multi-purpose room of Terramar Elementary at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

This is the district’s letter about the storm damage:

Dear Terramar Community,
 
We encountered some water intrusion to some of the school’s interior spaces due to the storms September 6th and 8th. The safety of our students and staff remain a top priority for the District.

District Facilities staff have been on site since the September 6th storm re-mediating the damages.   Monday September 8th, an outside professional contractor that specializes in this type of work, performed a formal evaluation and further remediation. Yesterday, September 11th, an Air Quality Control pretest was conducted as well as a mold test. Results of the tests indicate there is no mold to water damaged areas and the air quality pretest indicated that the building is safe for our students and staff.
 
We have done several things at Terramar in response to water damages including: sealed all of the windows, added a cap Flashing to the top of the perimeter block on the building, used a roofing material to go up the backs of all of the parapet walls on the roof and added covers on the fresh air vents on the entire building. A few years ago, the building was painted which does help seal the building.
 
Currently, we are continuing investigative measures to determine how this water intrusion happened, what will need to be removed or replaced and what further preventative actions we can take in preparation for future adverse weather conditions. We will alter our schedule and scope of the work once official pre test results are received. Further remediations will take place once an Air Quality Control post test has been conducted to retest. Testing will be randomly conducted throughout classrooms to ensure remediations were effective.
 
The school and District, will continue to figure out how this water intrusion has happened and take action to correct this for the future. A community meeting will be held at Terramar School this Monday September 15th at 7:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room to discuss these issues. All are welcome to attend. Terramar is located at 7000 W. Happy Valley Road Peoria, 85383.  
 
Thank you,
 Sharon Wieser
Principal-Interim