After toxic black mold was found in Carlin C. Coppin Elementary School in Lincoln, Nebraska, school officials decided to shut down the school for a week, until the mold could be removed completely and safely. The school is still fairly new — it was built in 1973 — and it has been tested for black mold regularly in the past; district Superintendent Scott Leaman stated that the school underwent extensive testing for mold in 2010, and that every room had come up clean.
The mold was found by repair workers who were tending to dripping in the school’s air conditioning system; the building reportedly had some minor renovation projects recently, and it’s possible that a condensation build-up resulted from the projects. Water damage — even just a small amount — can cause mold to grow, especially in dank places that get little ventilation and sunlight.
After finding the mold, the school immediately tested a sample and determined that it was black mold, which is one of the more toxic kinds of mold found in homes and commercial buildings. In order to protect the health of the students and staff, school administrators decided that the school should be shut down immediately and would only open up when all the mold had been removed.
According to parents in the school district, the only pressing concern of the shutdown is being able to find full-time child care for the week — which isn’t even that serious, they’ve noted, considering that the alternative would have been for school administrators to keep the building opened, thus putting the children in danger. Parents of children with allergies and respiratory problems, in particular, are pleased that the school took immediate action and is putting the health of its students before anything else.
The fact that the mold was probably caused by the recent construction work, rather than an environmental factor that would be unlikely to go away, has helped parents feel even more confident that the school will continue to be a safe facility.