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Mold gives kids at 2 area elementary schools a longer summer break

“We know it’s disruptive and extremely inconvenient but we’re not taking any chances,” Superintendent Alisa McLean said.
“We know it’s disruptive and extremely inconvenient but we’re not taking any chances,” Superintendent Alisa McLean said. Tri-City Herald

Summer vacation got longer for students at two Granville County schools Monday because of mold concerns.

Creedmoor Elementary School and Butner-Stem Elementary School both canceled classes and other scheduled activities.

“The well-being of our students and staff is our absolute priority,” Superintendent Alisa McLean said. “We know it’s disruptive and extremely inconvenient but we’re not taking any chances.”

Thursday, Aug. 31, is the earliest possible opening for Creedmoor Elementary, Granville County Public Schools spokesman Stan Winborne said.

Butner-Stem Elementary will remain closed until at least Tuesday, Sept. 5, he said.

Teachers began reporting back and setting up their classrooms at Creedmoor Elementary on Aug. 16 and quickly reported their suspicions of over-the-summer mold growth.

The next day, Winborne said, county officials conducted a visual inspection and determined professional testing was required.

Air and surface samples taken Aug. 22 tested positive for mold. A cleaning company’s spent the next three and a half days scrubbing every tabletop, wall and air duct in Creedmoor Elementary’s three building campus.

“This was a massive undertaking,” Winborne said.

The school was retested Sunday and “cleared for re-entry,” he said.

Industrial cleaning equipment was removed from Creedmoor Elementary on Monday. Teachers will need at least two days to set up their classrooms again.

Butner-Stem Elementary’s buildings were built around the same time as Creedmoor’s campus, and tests taken there Sunday also found mold in classrooms.

“They have a nearly identical footprint,” Winborne said. “We have had a very humid summer. And power was out at Creedmoor for about three days over the summer. Perfect conditions for mold.”

Industrial cleaning equipment was being transferred from Creedmoor Elementary to Butner-Stem, Winborne said, and the cleaning should begin shortly.

But county officials have concerns Butner-Stem Elementary’s HVAC system may be unable to maintain conditions necessary to ensure mold prevention.

“Until the air-conditioning is known to be fully fixed, we will not move students back into the school,” Winborne said. “There would be no point. Not if we had to cancel school and go through all this again.”

Colin Warren-Hicks: 919-419-6636, @CWarrenHicks

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