Papers, pencils and mold

Bactronix report reveals high levels of mold and bacteria within Freedom schools


This graph shows the average amount of ATP in each room that was detailed in the high school Bactronix report.

Cole Skuse, Business Manager/Copy Editor

On Jan. 18, Freedom Area School District sent home a letter with students that stated, “… we want to make you aware we experienced an occurrence with common household and environmental mold that is normally found in humid environments that also contain a lot of paper products, such as a school.”

Students who attended the high school received a notice that the library would be closed until further notice. Students who had classes in the library were moved to a different classroom for the time. This came after the rooms in the school were tested for mold by Bactronix.

On Dec. 27, a first test of the rooms in the all three buildingselementary, middle and high schoolswas done to determine the amount of mold that was in the classrooms. On a numerical scale, 0-30 meant the room was “Food Safe,” 30-100 meant “Relatively Clean,” 100-200 meant “Cautionary Zone”, 200-500 meant “Significant Surface Loading” and 500 or more meant “Highly Contaminated”any rating over 100 required action, meaning the room needed to be cleaned by Bactronix.

In the high school, each room was tested in three places: the whiteboard/SmartBoard, the desk closest to the door and the desk farthest from the door. In the middle school, the desk closest to the door, the whiteboard/SmartBoard and the caulking around the windows. In the elementary school, the desks that are closest to the window and the desk closest to the door were tested.

In the elementary school, the only room that exceeded a rating of 100 was A102, with a highest rating of 242. The best room was Ms. Amy Dechellis’, who had an average rating of 24. In the middle school, the highest rating was 7430 at the caulking around the windows in room F127, whereas the best room was Ms. Cindy Zeigler’s room at an average rating of 200.33. In the high school, the highest rating was 4317 in Ms. K.C. Hastings’ room on the desk furthest from the door; the best room in the high school was Mr. Tom Hickey’s room, room 224, with an average rating rating of 184.33.

“I don’t really know why that desk’s rating was so high. Nobody sits in that desk, but every other desk in the classroom is sat in across the classes,” Hastings said, “It might be due to the fact that that desk is so far from the door, which is one of the only sources of ventilation in this room. The black vents on the ceiling don’t work, so I think that might be the case.”

After the results came back, any room that had a rating over 100 had a “2-step Bactronicizing Process” done on Dec. 29. Upon completion of this process, every room had a 80 to 99 percent decrease in the amount of mold in the room. This resulted in every room having below a 100 rating, so no additional cleaning would be done after the cleaning process was done.

Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Fuller and Buildings and Grounds Director Mr. Gary Mortimer have been certified as testers for Bactronix. Now, they will swab for levels of mold in the schools monthly at random; three rooms in the high school and elementary school and two rooms in the middle school. That way, if there is another point in which there is too much mold to be considered safe, the school can immediately take care of the problem.