AP NEWS

Schools to clean up mold for spring break

April 14, 2019

STAMFORD — With students at Stamford schools enjoying a weeklong break, engineers and environmental specialists will be hard at work inside a number of the city’s schools dealing with mold remediation.

Spring break provides a much-needed opportunity to play catch-up in dealing with mold and water infiltration issues across the system.

“One of the larger challenges we face is the schools are occupied,” said Michael Handler, member of the ad-hoc Mold Task Force, created last year to address mold concerns across the school system. “So, any chance we get to put teams into schools when they’re unoccupied, we’re going to take advantage of the opportunity.”

In September of last year, a report presented to the city’s Board of Education found that 11 of Stamford’s 21 schools had mold inside of them. After that report, an inspection was conducted at Westover Magnet Elementary School, where the bulk of complaints were coming from.

Three of the bigger projects for vacation week will take place at Hart Magnet Elementary School, Julia A. Stark Elementary School and Northeast Elementary School.

At Northeast, the work will entail removing drywall, either partially or entirely, and taking down cabinets and walls in three separate classrooms — 226, 227 and 232 — to remove asbestos and possible mold. Drywall at the nurse’s office and custodian closet will also be taken down for asbestos.

Students at those three classrooms will be temporarily moved to another room the week after spring break, as the remediation effort continues. However, no asbestos treatment work will be conducted while students are in the building, according to the work plan.

At Stark, more than 6,000 square feet of vinyl wallpaper will be removed, and 26 water-stained ceiling tiles will be taken down on the school’s second floor. Additionally, one corridor on the second floor will be sprayed with fungicide.

The work at Hart during vacation week will focus on removing drywall, either partially or entirely, in certain sections, and cleaning and disinfecting spaces.

Window sills inside rooms 170, 171 and 172 will be removed as well. Arthur Augustyn, spokesperson for Mayor David Martin, said caulking on some windows is failing, so engineers will check the walls underneath the windows for mold. If discovered, the areas will be cleaned and disinfected.

The school’s heating and air conditioning unit will also be cleaned and disinfected, while water-stained tiles and mold will be removed.

Mold-related work is also expected at KT Murphy Elementary School, Toquam Magnet Elementary School and Newfield Elementary School during the break.

Additionally, workers will be cleaning all visible mold at Stamford High School, Westhill High School and Davenport Ridge Elementary School during the week. According to Augustyn, these schools will be assessed for mold, and an architect assigned to the schools will consult with engineers to plan for further work.

ignacio.laguarda@stamfordadvocate.com