ICS Magazine

School closed for mold problems

November 21, 2001
DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas -- The same town where an Austin, Texas jury awarded $32 million in a lawsuit against an insurance company concerning a mold-infested home is again in the news.

More than 900 students in the Dripping Springs Independent School District don't know when, or where, they'll be going to school next. The school district closed its Primary School this past week because of mold, and have kept students out ever since. The superintendent said the school could be closed as long as January.

According to District Superintendent Mary Ward, "We now know that at least 49 of 64 classrooms, the library, and several maintenance areas are involved with some level of contamination. Based on this level of involvement and the extent of remediation (cleaning of contents and removal of actual mold contamination) and repair, we will be delayed in getting students back in that building."

In a newsletter to district residents, the superintendent said, "We anticipate remediation companies will start the remediation process on Wednesday, Nov. 21 based on emergency action by the DSISD Board of Trustees at its meeting the night of Nov. 19. The remediation plan will determine the scope and length of time required for that process."

The school district will seek a Texas Education Agency waiver so students won't have to make up all the lost days. However, pupils may be required to attend summer school. School officials are hopeful they'll get back their mold test results sometime this week, and plan to discuss the test results and the district's options during the next meeting of the DSISD Board of Trustees at the Dripping Springs High School on Nov. 26. Parents will learn the effect on their students at that time.

"At this point, we have been unsuccessful in locating enough space for all students to be housed immediately after Thanksgiving holidays. It is not just an issue of locating space," said Superintendent Ward. "It also involves preparing other spaces and getting furniture and instructional materials for 921 students either from the Primary School building or other sources. No classes will be held the week after Thanksgiving for Primary School students. "

While the district does have options for alternate instructional arrangements, "We are sharing those options through the Primary School Campus Improvement Team and the Primary School PTO Board of Directors and asking for feedback today to help us make that decision."