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Mold cleanup may be finished by end of break, officials say

December 25, 2001
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A Chicago area elementary school still needs more cleanup to remove microscopic mold spores, but officials hope the work can be done before winter break ends in January.

CHICAGO -- A Chicago area elementary school still needs more cleanup to remove microscopic mold spores, but officials hope the work can be done before winter break ends Jan. 7.

The most recent wave of test results, received Dec. 20 by Superintendent William Schewe, indicate that two classrooms and a corridor connecting the rooms and surrounding areas are within the "acceptable" range for mold. Four kindergarten classes with 78 students have been moved out of the classrooms.

Because mold is always present in the air and ground, indoor mold tests are compared to outdoor mold counts with the objective of having a lower count inside than outside, the superintendent said.

However, the air tests conducted after mold mitigation in one of the contaminated classrooms detected at least four Stachybotrys mold spores in the second classroom and in an entryway at the school. This prompted an environmental firm to recommend further cleanup and more follow-up tests.

Stachybotrys is a greenish-black, slimy mold that multiplies in moisture and could cause health problems. Schewe said he was hopeful that the classroom cleanup and other repairs would be performed over the winter break.

Earlier this year, a kindergarten teacher with mold allergies complained to district officials, who later discovered that a leaking roof was the source of the problem. No students have reported health problems. The roof has been given a fresh coat of tar, and the walls where mold was found have been cleaned and repaired.

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