OAKDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Parents on Long Island want to know if mold is making students and teachers sick at a school in Suffolk County.
They say they want Oakdale Bohemia Middle School closed until a persistent mold problem is finally cleaned up.
Officials say excessive summer heat and humidity is to blame. Photos show mold growing on blackboards in classrooms, in stairwells, in the cafeteria, and under floor tiles. Even after professional cleaning, air testing, and an “all clear” sign, more mold has turned up.
It’s alarmed parents like Bridgett Garcia, who says students are getting sick.
“They’re coming home complaining, having a hard time breathing, congestion,” she tells CBS2.
The latest mold discovery was last week inside an orchestra storage closet. Outside contractors are now looking under ceiling tiles and rafters and evaluating musical instrument.
Some parents aren’t satisfied, taking to social media to ask why their students are still allowed inside.
“Move the students to another building, until it’s 100 percent,” Garcia said.
The school was built on a marsh, so air quality has been an issue for years.
“They see mold and they say how much else did they miss,” Connetquot Teachers’ Association President Tony Felicio said.
Felicio says the district is taking the matter seriously by closing affected areas and informing the community, but he’s not sure if it’s enough to fix a chronic problem that’s also sickened teachers.
“They’re basing it on data, but if you base it on how certain people are feeling you would say ‘wow, maybe you should shut this down’,” he said.
A spokesperson for the district referred CBS2 to the findings of an outside contractor, which stated: “The mold-in-air sampling and inspection performed did not identify any indoor airborne mold concerns within the subject spaces.”
Felicio says he plans to propose a top-to-bottom thorough cleaning of the school during the Columbus Day holiday weekend because the “band aid solutions” have not worked for the past several years.
The Connetquot school board meets Tuesday night, and concerned parents say they plan to attend to demand answers as to why the school remains open during the cleaning process.