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Teachers and students of Broward schools are still being affected years later

Nearly two decades ago, a grand jury ordered the Broward schools to control the mold contamination that was consuming its buildings, but the district still has no way to determine whether all of the students and teachers are breathing clean air.

Broward relies on the employees of the schools to make complaints before they look for mold growth or its causes. Inspectors do no perform routine follow ups to ensure that the measures that were taking to cleanup existing mold actually worked. Additionally, no measures are taken to find out how quickly maintenance teams repair problems that enable mold to grow and spread.

Thousands of air quality reports and complaints that were filed by employees have been assessed. A database of work orders has also been analyzed. More than 4,000 work orders for roof leaks have been filed, one of the biggest factors that leads to mold growth. Records indicate that about one-third of those work orders were completed and it took a minimum of 90 days to close out the orders. For about 100 of the work orders, it took at least a year.

Furthermore, records indicate that approximately 25 reports regarding mold or mildew remained unresolved months and even years after they were filed.

School officials were confronted with the findings. Officials stated that the word order records cannot be trusted because the Broward school district never accurately tracked their status in any central system. Additionally, officials said that several work orders could be submitted for the same problem. They said that maintenance staff monitors whether or not the work is completed.

Spokeswoman Tracy Clark said that the staff of the Broward schools is “committed to constantly looking through” work orders in order to ensure that the staff is responding to the issues that are reported in a timely manner. The director of physical plant operations, Sam Bays, said that staff members try to get to problems within a few days after work orders have been filed. There’s no way to confirm whether or not that is actually happening.

“The information that you’re trying to extract is information that we would love to extract, but we cannot,” said chief facilities officer, Leo Bobadilla.

Prolonged exposure to mold can cause numerous health problems, including allergies, respiratory infections, and neurological dysfunctions. It’s also particularly harmful to children.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that people who are sensitive to molds can also develop nasal congestion, throat irritation, wheezing, and coughing, as well as eye and skin irritation.

A grand jury slammed the district for its insufficient response to the rampant mold problems in the schools. School officials were ordered to take a more proactive approach to combat the mold.

Mold Inspection & Testing Palm Beach has years of experience performing mold tests in Palm Beach and the surrounding areas. We strongly urge Broward school officials to arrange for routine mold testing to confirm that students and staff are safe. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 561.910.0881.