Laws and Solutions to Mold in Schools

(Source: Pixabay)

In recent years, mold has been a serious issue in many Ontario schools.

Besides resulting in staining and other damage on school property, it is also a big health risk for some of our most vulnerable members of society: our children.

In general, the symptoms of mold — such as coughing, watery eyes, itchy skin, etc — can come off as symptoms of other allergens and the common flu.

However, mold can have a particularly severe impact on children, i.e., bodies with developing immune systems. Mold is clearly something schools must deal with as a matter of urgency.

Removing Mold in Schools: The Law is Not Clear

There’s no doubt that schools need to free themselves of mold contamination, but the question of how to do it is still a challenge. While there are industry best practices and organizations that promote the proper removal mold, there’s technically no law that forces you into a specific way.

However, if your school is facing a mold issue, you can escalate the matter by reaching out to a school board trustee. You should follow-up and, if you’re not satisfied with the answer, continue climbing the ladder: speak to the school, its principal, the superintendent, local MP, and so on.

Simply put, you must ensure that the right people are aware of the mold issue and the school’s mold remediation efforts. Doing so will help put pressure on the school to remediate correctly.

Understanding the Problem of Mold in Schools

As noted earlier, common mold symptoms in students could include more frequent headaches, coughing, watery eyes, itchy skin, and other common allergy symptoms.

However, because their immune systems are still developing, children and teenagers may have a more severe reaction to mold than adults. So the effects of these symptoms may be worse for young people than for most others; they can potentially cause other health issues as well.

In terms of the school building, notable signs of mold include mold growth/staining as well as a musty smell. This is common in washrooms, kitchens, and other areas with increased moisture, humidity, and water levels. You will typically find mold growth in the corner of showers, in your tile grout, and in the case of classrooms and hallways, on or beneath the drywall.

An Example of Black Mold on a Wall Corner

black mold on ceiling(Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Steps to Mold Remediation in Schools

  1. Get Professionals to Inspect the School

You should start with getting a professional indoor air quality (IAQ) test. This is to ensure you get an accurate understanding of not only your indoor mold concentration levels, but of humidity and moisture as well (as these contribute to mold growth).

In addition, you should get a professional environmental contractor to inspect your mold growth and damage. The reality with mold is that it’s a symptom of another deeper issue — e.g., elevated humidity or moisture levels, or water intrusion and damage.

You must get an expert to find that root-cause and, in turn, tailor your remediation work to solve that issue. So if the cause is water leaking into your walls, the remediation work must fix that in addition to removing the mold growth and stains.

  1. Get the Right Mold Remediation Contractor

To fully remove the mold and its root-cause, you must complete the work the right way.

This starts with ensuring you get trained technicians with protective gear, HEPA (i.e., High Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuums, and decontamination processes to prevent mold spores from spreading into other areas.

Your School Should be a Welcoming Environment

Mold is Totally Unwelcoming

Basically, you need commercial mold remediation experts to tackle your school’s mold issue for the same reason you would consult a professional physician to manage your health.

Mistakes in this area could result in harm to not just the remediation technicians, but the staff and students as well as other parts of your school building.

  1. Prevent the Mold From Returning

Finally, you must work on preventing the mold infestation from occurring. This includes keeping tabs on areas with higher moisture and humidity levels as well as responding to water damage (e.g., from flooding, leaks, etc) as soon as possible.

Be it the health of your staff and students to the reputation of your school, you cannot afford to let mold fester and grow. However, without professional remediation services, you will be at risk of repeat mold outbreaks.

For More on Mold Remediation:

Work with FERRO Environmental to find all and remove all instances of mold in your school (and its root causes) today. Call us today to get started!