Update: Brandywine Elementary remains closed due to mold concerns

Submitted Brandywine Heights Elementary School was closed on the first day of school, Monday, due to mold spores in the carpeting. Cleaning is being conducted to address the issue.

The latest test results have closed Brandywine Heights Elementary School for the rest of week due to mold concerns.

Previously, the district closed Brandywine Heights Elementary School on the first day of school, Monday, Aug. 26, due to elevated mold spores in the carpets. The district had hoped to open the elementary school on Wednesday but new test results led to the decision to close the school for the remainder of the week.

“We still have a few concerns, we have had significantly better results but we still have a couple concerns,” said SuperintendentAndrew Potteiger.

The Elementary School was closed on the first day of school due to an air quality test showing elevated mold spores in the carpets. Cleaning and testing were conducted with the hopes of opening on Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Potteiger sent the announcement to parents, and posted on the district website, on Tuesday evening that the Elementary School will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday for continued cleaning and testing.

Editor’s Note: news of the test results became available after press time for the Aug. 29 print publication.

“The cleaning regimen has been successful as indicated with the recent test results. Air quality results were excellent and air quality is no longer the concern in the building,” wrote Potteiger. “The issue remains with mold spores in the carpeted areas. We have significantly improved the areas with mold in the carpets but have not completely rectified the situation.”

At the recommendation of the certified industrial hygienist from Spotts, Stevens, McCoy (SSM) Brandywine will be conducting another round of cleaning and testing.

All other buildings will operate on the normal schedule and will NOT be closed.

“I realize that this will cause additional inconvenience but the decisions to further delay the opening of school were made for the safety of our students. We will ensure that the Elementary School is a safe environment prior to opening school.”

The district anticipates opening the Elementary School on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

“Thank you for your patience and understanding,” writes Potteiger.

The following was published online on Aug. 26.

The Elementary School was closed on the first day of school Monday, and remains closed Tuesday, due to an air quality test showing elevated mold spores in the carpets.

“The safety of the children and the safety of the air and environment is the most important to me. I realize it causes an inconvenience for parents and it may be a little disappointing for the children wanting to start school today,” said Andrew Potteiger, Superintendent for Brandywine Heights School District, “in the end I had to be worried about safety of the students.”

Wanting to prevent rumors, Potteiger informed parents via the district’s automated communication system about the air quality test results and the closure of the Elementary School for the first day of school.

“I’m big in open communication,” he said. “Honest, open communication. I filled them in on exactly what was going on and let them know that school was going to be cancelled.”

Potteiger explained that the district conducted the normal cleaning this summer, taking everything out and cleaning everything, including the carpets. Afterwards they noticed mold on the carpets. The maintenance crew used hospital grade cleaners to clean the carpets and addressed the mold issues, he said.

“To be safe, we conducted an air test.”

The initial air quality control test, conducted by Spotts, Stevens, McCoy, indicated elevated mold counts in some locations on the first floor of the Elementary School. Service Master cleaned all classrooms on the first floor of the elementary school, according to Potteiger.

“We recleaned all carpets, horizontal and vertical spaces on all the first floor classrooms. They also ran dehumidifiers and air purifiers,” said Potteiger.

On Friday, Aug. 23, the district received the results of a secondary air quality control test through Spotts, Stevens, McCoy.

“The air tests passed but there remained concern with elevated mold spores in the carpets.”

The announcement to close school was made Friday.

Service Master recleaned all carpeted floors in the Elementary School over this past weekend with a product recommended by their test laboratory after reviewing the test results. They also ran dehumidifiers and air purifiers, according to Potteiger.

“We treated every single carpet in the building,” he said.

In a post on the school website to parents, Potteiger wrote, “We will ensure that the Elementary School is safe through the aggressive cleaning and a reevaluation of the air quality prior to opening school on Wednesday.”

Another test was conducted on Monday and they hope to see the results Tuesday. Potteiger said the district hopes to open the Elementary School on Wednesday as long as the carpets pass the test.

“I’m not taking it lightly,” he said. “The safety of the kids is the most important. Make sure we have good air test results.”

Wednesday will be the normal first day of school, if all goes well with the test.

“We’re looking to start the first day of school on Wednesday and have a successful school year.”

Potteiger is taking steps to submit a waiver to the state regarding 180 days of school requirement. He explained that if not approved, Brandywine Elementary will have to make those days up, but if approved the elementary school does not have to make the days up.