Mold was found in five Anne Arundel County elementary schools in August, said Alex Szachnowicz, chief operating officer for the school system.
School officials detected and eliminated mold at Shady Side, Brock Bridge, Jessup, Manor View and Georgetown East elementary schools before school started, Szachnowicz said. Spores started sprouting in ceiling tiles over the summer — one of the region’s hottest and wettest on record.
“The key is early identification and aggressive remediation efforts,” Szachnowicz said. “We have trained operations personnel to inspect our buildings.”
Shady Side, Brock Bridge, Jessup and Manor View are under construction. Szachnowicz said frequent traffic in and out of the schools could have contributed to mold growth.
Shady Side is getting prekindergarten and kindergarten additions and open space enclosures.
Brock Bridge is also getting also getting open space enclosures.
Jessup is undergoing a $45.2 million replacement. A $34.4 million revitalization project is underway at Manor View.
Families at the schools were not notified about the mold because it was cleared out before the first day of school, Szachnowicz said.
Exposure to mold can pose a variety of health risks — throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, nasal stuffiness, respiratory issues, eye irritation or skin irritation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some people are not affected by mold exposure at all. Warm, wet and humid environments are the best breeding ground for mold, said the CDC.
School district officials will remain on the lookout for mold as the weather begins to cool.
“We’re still not past the stage that, just because of environmental conditions, we’re not at the stage yet where we’re letting our guard down,” Szachnowicz said.
The school district has not had to relocate any students and does not plan to move anyone.
This story has been updated to reflect the fact that Georgetown East Elementary School is not currently under construction.