Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Graham, NC 27253
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The Public Asks: lots of questions about ABBS and mold


One of this newspaper’s most popular features over many years has been our “Public Asks” column, in which the newspaper tries to find answers to  readers’ questions about matters of public record.

Nothing has prompted more Public Asks inquiries than the sudden and recent findings of widespread mold across ABSS schools.

We’re trying to work our way through getting answers to many very good, substantive questions.

We’re not sure that the school system is going to have very many substantive or satisfying answers, but we wanted to assure readers that we’re not disregarding their inquiries, many of which have a sense of urgency.

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Here are some of the best (we’ll hope to get some responses in the near future):

  • Were the mold remediation certificates received for most of the ABSS schools as strict, complete, or thorough as the first two received – i.e., for Andrews and Newlin elementary schools?
  • Exactly, what are the current standards being used to determine whether ABSS schools are clear of mold?
  • Why was the air quality inspection company that did the post-remediation certificates changed for the subsequent schools?
  • Is there any guarantee (or “warranty”) for the work done thus far so as to ensure mold remediation won’t be required (again) at the same schools in the near future?
  • Why were areas of schools that had not been identified with mold cleaned anyway? Didn’t this add significantly to the cost for cleanup and slow the process of completion?
  • Why were there bids sought and received for the first two schools, but apparently not for 30-some subsequent ones?
  • What have janitors or the custodial contractor been doing all this time, if there’s this much mold in so many schools?
  • How is mold such an issue in ABSS schools when other, neighboring school districts (Orange and Guilford, for instance) have had the same hot, humid summer weather as Alamance, but only ABSS schools have had such a widespread mold problem requiring a two-week closure of the entire school system?
  • Who (what individual ABSS employee) is responsible for having cut off the humidity monitors over the summer? Is that the underlying reason for such extensive mold in ABSS schools? Has that person been fired?
  • If mold is such a problem (to postpone school for two weeks), why does the state not regulate it? Are non-toxic forms of mold (which were at most of the schools) actually “dangerous” – for students or teachers?
  • And how did the more serious (black, or toxic) mold, become such a sudden problem? How could the school system not have known about it?

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