OSHA says no mold danger in classrooms | TahoeDailyTribune.com

OSHA says no mold danger in classrooms

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

The mold is getting old.

Suspicions of mold at South Tahoe Middle School, Meyers Elementary School and South Tahoe High School have surfaced from several parents and teachers.

Flat roofs of schools that shoulder heavy snow loads during the winter are being fingered as the main culprits causing leaky ceilings that lead to conditions that produce mold.

There is minimal physical evidence of the fungus and a representative from California Occupational Safety and Health Administration didn’t find any danger at South Tahoe Middle School during a November inspection, said a teacher at the middle school.

“The OSHA guy said there were no problems because there were windows in the room,” said Jimmy Vaughn. “It’s been something that’s been going on and on forever.”

Mike Patterson, president of the South Tahoe Educators Association, said the problem has been going on for at least 14 years.

Patterson said instead of going into the classrooms that have the mold and talking with the teachers who reported the fungus, the OSHA representative spoke with the middle school principal Mike Greenfield.

“It’s been a problem that hasn’t really been taken seriously by the school district,” Patterson said.

Steve Morales, the Lake Tahoe Unified School District facilities director, said he is aware of mold at Meyers Elementary and had tested the site about 10 days ago.

Two roof leaks at the school were caused by frozen drain lines this winter, he said. The results of the testing should arrive shortly, he added.

Morales noted the OSHA representative looked in specific middle school classrooms where there were complaints and found no indication of mold growth.

About three years ago, as a result of a parents’ initiative the leaking roof at Meyers Elementary was repaired. Marvis Best was a parent involved in the push for roof repair since her daughter had severe allergies, primarily to mold, when she was in the third grade, she said.

Her daughter was transferred out of the school during fifth grade to St. Theresa Catholic School. Her allergies lessened, Best said.

Now her daughter, a freshman at South Tahoe High School, is experiencing the same symptoms in places like the music room. Her cheeks swelled and a rash appeared on her body.

Patterson planned a Feb. 27 meeting with the school district to talk about the issue. But that date hasn’t been confirmed, he said.

“Our concern is more than our teachers teaching in rooms that have mold,” he said. “It’s also for students that have to learn in those same rooms.”

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