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Cider Mill School Indoor Air Quality Update - 9/13/23

Posted Date: 9/13/23 (6:29 PM)

Good evening!

As you may be aware, we have experienced a few issues with the presence of mold due to increased humidity levels and a few leaks. We have been communicating with families who have students in impacted rooms, but I wanted to provide a school-wide update for all families. Apologies in advance to the families who have already received similar updates from me.  Good Morning Wilton provided a brief summary of events based on Dr. Smith’s report at the September 7th Board Meeting. Additionally, the Board of Education is also hosting a “special meeting” (via Zoom) this evening to further discuss these concerns. Please visit their website for more information. 

First and foremost, please know that our facilities team is collaborating with Atlas Technical Consultants (testing) and Restoration One (mold remediation specialists) to ensure everyone’s safety and health. Over the past couple of weeks, a handful of teachers noticed an abundance of moisture and condensation in their rooms. Most of this is due to the high humidity levels, the placement of some classrooms (below ground level sections of Cannondale) and a few isolated leaks that have surfaced. Regardless, the increased moisture led to  the growth of mold spores in an isolated number of our classrooms. 

Once teachers reported concerns, our facilities and maintenance crews immediately reached out to Atlas Technical Consultants (ATC) to conduct testing in questionable classrooms. When levels came back with higher than expected levels, our maintenance teams and consultants from Restoration One collaborated to rectify any issues. Results indicated that only a few classes had levels which required us to relocate students and staff. Last week we tested and relocated Ms. Sherwood’s class (CN 116). We also treated all 4th classrooms located on the “back wall” of Cannondale (CN 115 and 117) with the remediation steps outlined below. Today, due to leaks that were found, we need to relocate both Mrs. Forniaciari’s classroom (CN 120) and Mrs. Todd’s room (CN 110) until their spaces are remediated and retested. We will continue to carefully monitor and remediate additional areas as needed. We have convened our Tools for School committee and will conduct a thorough walk-through of the building to ensure we haven’t missed any additional areas of concern. 

When “higher than expected” mold counts are found or a staff person observes a significant issue, here are the steps that are followed:

  • Staff/students are relocated. 

  • HEPA Air Scrubbers and dehumidifiers are installed and ran in the identified classrooms. 

  • Identified rooms are deep cleaned including the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning units, and new filters are installed. 

  • Collaborate with Restoration One mold remediation services to inspect spaces behind the walls and above the drop ceilings in each of these rooms using an infrared camera to ensure there is no moisture intrusion or mold growth.  

  • Shampoo any area rugs and treat them with anti-mold cleansers. 

  • Refine our AC and airflow to maximize the functionality of our HVAC system throughout the building and decrease humidity

  • Additional tests will be conducted following the renovation and before students re-enter the space. 

Operating under the guidance of ATC and Restoration One, we believe the measures we have put in place will resolve the issue.  ACT has also told us that as the humidity levels drop, these issues of mold spores, smells, and moisture will naturally dissipate.  All reports will be posted on the district’s facilities website. A huge thank you to our facilities team and our teachers for being so responsive and flexible! 

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out.

Dr. Jen Falcone