Ressie tested for mold spores

FRONT ROYAL – After concerns arose related to conditions at Ressie Jeffries Elementary School, Warren County Public Schools requested air testing for mold samples in the building.

Superintendent Greg Drescher distributed executive summary packets at a Tuesday work session that contained information about air quality testing conducted at the school on Nov. 21. The packet included a letter to the schools’ maintenance director Michael Riley from Winchester Environmental Consultants Inc. Vice President Ryan Rose and testing data.

In the letter, Rose wrote that he and James Sigurdson collected spore samples from 34 locations throughout the school and one location outside of the school near the front of the building.

The tables included in the packet list the spore counts per cubic meter by the area they were collected from, identifying 17 different organisms and leaving one field for “unspecified” organisms. As Rose emphasized in his letter, the outdoor sample – which was meant to serve as a control – contained a total number of spores that was at least five times higher than spore counts from any other area sampled.

Interior samples came from various rooms and classrooms, including the cafeteria, main office and one sample from both a section of hallway and a bathroom.

An instructional assistant at Ressie came before the school board at the Nov.12 meeting, attributing respiratory illnesses to conditions at the school. She listed mold in her lungs among her ailments. Staff members and parents had previously mentioned mold when discussing conditions at Ressie and voicing their concerns at meetings.

Drescher gave those at the Nov. 12 meeting a status update on Ressie repairs and replacements, saying that “it is something that’s happening.”

While the findings of the inspection stated that there is “not a significant mold issue occurring within the school,” the recommendations stated that certain individuals may be more sensitive than others to some of the allergens found.

Rose wrote in his letter that there is no federal or state threshold for what is considered an acceptable or passable amount of mold found in a building. He emphasized that growing mold or water damage was not evident based on the conducted testing.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com