In a letter home to parents on Tuesday, October 29, Superintendent Jan Britz detailed some options the district is weighing to get rid of the air vapor odor that has plagued a small portion of Jordan Middle School since the completion of some roofing work earlier this year. The affected area, which includes the school’s administrative offices and one classroom, has been closed since early October, as air quality tests were performed and results analyzed. While those test results were either negative or within permissible levels for certain chemicals, BUSD officials have been working with an air balancing specialist to come up with the most effective plan to get rid of the persistent smell.
The plan moving forward includes the possibility of both “ozone treatment” of material (books) in the affected areas and air balancing the entire affected area by venting out the affected air with fans and blowers, Dr. Britz explained in the letter. This action would be scheduled over Veteran’s Day weekend and if it’s effective in dissipating the odors, and additional air balancing treatment would be scheduled over the Thanksgiving weekend. Should results continue to be satisfactory, staff work areas could be relocated back to their offices over the Winter Recess break.
Currently, district officials are waiting on proposals from two different companies, Bureau Veritas and Alliance, to look at the projected plans and project bids, according to Craig Bell, Director of Facilities for BUSD. While the roofing company, Tremco, has offered to pay for all the tests and mitigation issues, standard operating procedure requires consideration of a few bids and proposals, so the district can choose the most effective means of odor mitigation.
Dr. Britz also mentioned a mold concern in which a small amount of mold discovered on the back side of a ceiling tile in room 108, also at Jordan Middle School. The teacher in that room had indicated having watery eyes and a “stuffy smell” in the room, explained Mr. Bell, so Facilities sent out some technicians to investigate the HVAC and room components. During the investigation, while the HVAC was cleared of any issues or water leakage, one ceiling tile was discovered with a few small dark spots. Those spots tested positive for a trace amount of dormant mold.
Staff and students were removed from the classroom and the mold issue was remediated. A few other ceiling tiles showed traces of previous water stains, but no mold. Without a water supply, mold cannot grow and spread. The original source of moisture continues to be investigated, so the district can permanently resolve the issue.