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Black Mold Closes Fairhaven Elementary School

By WBZ-TV Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve
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FAIRHAVEN (CBS) – An unsettling discovery at an elementary school in southeastern Massachusetts just as the kids were getting ready to return. Black mold showed up in air quality tests requiring a last minute change of plans.

The welcome notes are on the desks but so still are the chairs. Now the hallways at the Oxford Elementary School in Fairhaven will remain dark following the discovery of unhealthy black mold in the air.

Kevin Miller is the president of the environmental company hired to fix the problem.

“People who have asthma, they should not be around a lot of mold and we are going to make sure that does not happen,” he said.

The environmental company is now running air quality tests at a dozen locations throughout the building which Fairhaven was renovating this summer. 240 young students were supposed to show up Tuesday when last minute tests required the Superintendent Robert Baldwin to throw on the brakes.

“They are going to have a three-day postponement of their school year and we know it is an absolute inconvenience to parents who rely on us,” says Baldwin.

The Oxford Elementary School has actually been closed since 2007. Fairhaven school officials were only planning on using it for this year while the students’ real elementary school, the Wood School, was torn down and rebuilt.

The Oxford School is now being flushed with fresh air. An old stage curtain has been removed.
The hope is that will solve the problem.

But parents are clearly nervous. Pam Kuechler is the head of the School Committee.

She says, “There are things to be concerned about when it comes to kids with asthma, kids with allergies and we want to make sure when those kids walk in to a building they are not going to have any kind of a reaction.”

School officials say they should know Wednesday if they can open the school next week.

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