MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Medical emergencies and air quality testing has prompted another day of eLearning for students at Mamie P. Whitesides Elementary on Friday.
The school and Charleston County School District has been conducting air quality tests in the building after some concerns were brought to administrators regarding higher than normal carbon dioxide (CO2) readings.
Principal Michelle Conner said in a message Thursday the decision was made after two students suffered medical emergencies in the last three weeks, with the most recent occurring on Wednesday.
“While we remain unsure if the medical emergencies are connected in any way, the medical emergencies coupled with indoor air quality concerns in some areas this year, as well as ongoing HVAC repairs, caused district officials to move to eLearning which allowed for CCSD to conduct assessments of the physical environment,” said Conner.
The school’s facilities team and Mount Pleasant Fire Department and Hazmat team tested air quality levels throughout the building on Thursday, and Connor said there were no findings that indicate an unsafe air quality environment.
“Tests were also conducted today for carbon monoxide (either zero or negligible results) and carbon dioxide (within recommended levels for classrooms). Repairs, if needed, were made to all HVAC units to function properly circulating fresh air throughout the building,” she said.
“Results from samples taken late last week for airborne fungi by an environmental services company, Terracon, were also received today. Results are interpreted by comparing total airborne concentrations and the distributions of fungal genera in samples from indoor locations to samples from outdoor locations. The lab results show total spore counts inside were lower than outdoor air spore counts by an estimated range of 10X-60X which indicates a lack of presence of harmful levels of mold. Additionally, we have created a Google folder which contains all other environmental test results for any test conducted at Whitesides in the past 12 month, Connor added.
Connor said CCSD has coordinated with Terracon for further carbon dioxide tests to be conducted on Friday, October 20, 2023.
“Moving forward, Facilities Management will ensure the periodic collection and analysis of data to verify the safety of the environment. Information will be shared regularly with parents via email. Our intent is to collect CO2 data weekly and mold data two times per month.
At this time, we anticipate that students will return to school on Monday, October 23, 2023. CCSD staff will be on hand in the cafeteria, located at the back of the school, off the bus loop. Parents will enter through the back gate and be checked in by staff before entering the cafeteria.”