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Mold in Schools, A Concern For Union, Parents

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| 2012 May 28 |
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Mold in Schools, A Concern For Union, Parents

The union representing elementary school teachers in Ontario say parents and school boards must be vigilant about the spread of mold in school buildings and portables.

Peter Guiliani, head of the Ottawa-Carleton local of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, said his union has complained about mold in Ottawa schools, on behalf of both staff and students, and said parents should do the same.

CBC News shed light on the story of Carmen Griffith, a western Quebec teacher who said she became ill working in a moldy school portable and is fighting the province to have her medical bills covered.

Air quality tests conducted at the portable Griffith taught in, at Chelsea Elementary School in Chelsea, Que., exposed toxic levels of mold. The board since closed the portable, eliminating use by students and staff.

Dr. Jennifer Armstrong, an Ottawa-based specialist in environmental medicine, said mold is a serious concern, as she’s treated a number of teachers and students in Ottawa.

Mold spotted at older school

There’s been additional concern expressed by parents at Broadview Public School in Ottawa. Last year, the school closed for a day because of a boiler leak, and after members of parent council found evidence of flooding in the basement and signs of mold in classrooms, they began to worry.

The older building has been on a priority list with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board for repairs, which haven’t yet been done because of a lack of funding from the province, according to school board officials.

The school board said that it’s coming together with teachers to bring their mold protocol up to date. According to Jennifer McKenzie, board chair, they’re working on doing away with older portables and bringing in newer ones.