Richmond School Board discuss mold in classrooms at Monday meeting

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond School Board met Monday night to discuss several issues — including the presence of mold in the district’s schools.

At the meeting held Monday, Sept. 18, Richmond Public Schools (RPS) teachers pressed the school board, asking when their classrooms will be mold-free.

“The severity of the moisture and [heating, ventilation and air conditioning] issues in so many of our buildings leads me to ask you once again to take swift action,” said Anne Forrester, a Richmond teacher who concerned about mold in classrooms.

Teachers and parents previously came forward to voice their frustrations about the mold to the school board last week, raising questions about what is being done to address it.

RPS has been conducting tests for mold in its buildings over the last few months. A test in August showed mold in Boushall Middle School in Southside. RPS conducted another test in September after ceiling tiles were replaced and furniture was removed — and no mold was found.

A test in August found no mold at Mary Scott Preschool, but the school district still replaced ceiling tiles which had been stained by moisture. Now, RPS is planning to conduct more testing before it rolls out a plan for remediation, with one planned for Fox Elementary at Clark Springs for Sept. 20.

School leaders said they will implement remediation, like HVAC cleaning, changing ceiling tiles and bringing in a 3rd-party company to do a deep scrub, based on results.

RPS also voted to change the admission process for is specialty schools. The first option would’ve added two extra guaranteed seats for each middle school at all specialty schools. The second option would’ve set aside half of the available seats for economically disadvantaged students, while the third option was a combination of the first two.

RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras showed support for the third plan, which ended up being chosen by the board, as did some parents present at the meeting.

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