Mold Will Close School In Pomfret for Months

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/31/2018 11:49:59 PM
Modified: 8/31/2018 11:53:34 PM

Pomfret — Elementary school students from Bridgewater and Pomfret likely will attend school at Woodstock Elementary School until at least January because of mold issues at Prosper Valley School in Pomfret, according to PVS Principal John Hansen.

“We could be at Woodstock up to a full school year,” Hansen said in a Friday phone interview. “The best-case scenario, I would say, is that we’ll be back in in January.”

The mold Aspergillus this summer was discovered at Prosper Valley School, a K-8 school in South Pomfret serving students from Bridgewater and Pomfret. A contracted mold remediation cleaning was completed in mid-August, but subsequent air quality tests revealed that “unacceptable levels of mold spores continued to exist in the building,” according to Windsor Central Supervisory Union Superintendent Mary Beth Banios.

Hansen said the school may need to hire an engineering firm to help evaluate ways to mitigate humidity problems in the building, which he said are the root of the school’s mold issues.

“We need to correct the (humidity) problem first before we look at another remediation and cleaning process,” Hansen said. “We’re hoping to receive more information on what our options might be before the next School Board meeting on Sept. 10.”

PVS teachers used conference facilities at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park to plan the move and new teaching arrangements, and district staff, parents, students and other volunteers spent three hours on Thursday moving needed furniture and materials 2½ miles south to Woodstock Elementary School.

Because of constraints on available space at WES, Prosper Valley will combine grades 2-3 and 4-5, while having teachers for each grade present in those classrooms. Kindergarten and first grade also will share a classroom, which also was the arrangement at PVS.

Prosper Valley and Woodstock Elementary students will not share classrooms except for physical education class, according to Hansen. Students from both schools also will share lunch and recess periods.

“Woodstock Elementary School staff has so graciously opened its school and resources to us,” Hansen wrote in a Friday email. “I cannot emphasize enough the outstanding support and coordinating efforts.”

Aspergillus is non-toxic, but can cause health problems for those with asthma, lung problems, allergies and compromised immune systems.

Hansen said Prosper Valley is far from the only building hit with moisture and mold issues during this hot and humid summer.

“Just talking to people around the state, it’s the worst season people have seen since (Tropical Storm) Irene in terms of water issues,” he said, referring to the storm that eight years ago dumped up to 11 inches of rain in some parts of Vermont.

Prosper Valley School students begin classes at Woodstock Elementary School on Tuesday.

Jared Pendak can be reached at jpendak@vnews.com or 603-727-3216.




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