Citing Mold Concerns, Fitchburg Superintendent Delays Opening of High School Until Sept. 4
FITCHBURG -- A mold outbreak this summer, possibly caused by hot and humid weather, has delayed the first day of school for Fitchburg High School students until Sept. 4.
“The school is not opening because we’re continuing to address concerns over the mold,” Superintendent Andre Ravenelle said Wednesday.
Students were originally scheduled to return to classes on Thursday. High school teachers returned to work on Monday.
Ravenelle said some teachers pointed out spots where it was unclear whether it was dirt or something else.
He convened a conference call with union representatives, administrators, and environmental and hygienic consultants.
Teachers were then sent home on Wednesday, he said.
Custodians were trained to clean mold less than 10 square-feet in line with Environmental Protection Agency guidelines, according to a statement issued Wednesday afternoon.
The mold was cleaned and air quality testing was completed, he said.
The building has been cleared for occupancy, according to Ravenelle.
However, Ravenelle said it was clear new protocols needed to be put in place.
“I wasn’t in a place where I felt I could bring 1,200 students back into the building, because we didn’t have everything in place to monitor what’s going on,” he said.
Mold grows indoors on moist surfaces, and can be a common cause of minor health issues like an irritated nose, throat and lungs, according to the EPA.
Parts of the state were under an extreme heat advisory Wednesday as the high temperature and humidity made weather conditions produced heat indexes over 100 degrees.
All other Fitchburg Public Schools were scheduled to reopen on time.
This is a developing story.