Another wet summer has parents thinking about a familiar problem: mold. Last year, nine school districts in Allegheny, Fayette, and Westmoreland counties delayed the start of school after mold was found in classrooms and other areas.
Jerome Mays never worried about mold at his kid's school until last year, when he saw districts throughout Western Pennsylvania delaying start dates.
"Mold is a big issue because kids' lungs are not fully developed," said parent, Jerome Mays.
In the 2018-2019 school year, nine school districts had to temporarily close their doors because of mold. It impacted students in North Allegheny, Pine-Richland, Shaler Area, Fox Chapel, Plum, Highlands, Mt. Pleasant, Southmoreland and Brownsville.
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Thousands of students were delayed in going back to school last year, and it was all because of mold found in different classrooms. So 11 Investigates started requesting documents to find out what these school districts are doing to make sure this doesn't happen again.
"The situation needs to be taken care of before the kids are back in school," said Mays.
11 Investigates asked for every environmental test completed from August 2018 to August of 2019 including mold testing.
Watch all of our Back to School content on the WPXI-TV YouTube page. We found many of the district leaders became more proactive by monitoring conditions this summer when students were off.
Some districts also conducted numerous tests in the weeks and months after the mold was discovered to make sure there was no mold.
Fox Chapel did seven environmental tests in its schools since last August and Plum did eight tests.
While last year's wet summer was mostly to blame for the mold, Severe Weather Team 11 said even more rain had fallen this year. It's topping 15 inches since June 1.
Channel 11 News obtained the following documents through a right-to-know request to area school districts. Environmental reports since July 2018 were requested.
- Southmoreland SD response to right-to-know request (7/16/19)
- Southmoreland High School: Spore trap report (Aug. 2018)
- Southmoreland High School: Direct microscopic examination report (Aug. 2018)
- Southmoreland High School mold 1 (Aug. 2018)
- Southmoreland High School mold 2 (Aug. 2018)
- Southmoreland High School mold clean-up plan (8/28/18)
- Mt. Pleasant Area SD: Tests (Aug. 2018)
- Mt. Pleasant Area SD inspection and remediation (2018)
- Mt. Pleasant Area SD inspection and remediation update (2018)
- Brownsville Area Elementary School mold (Aug. 2018)
- North Allegheny SD response to right-to-know request (8/7/19)
- Pine-Richland SD response to right-to-know request (8/7/19)
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