ShareThis Page
Editorials

Editorial: How did six school districts miss mold that delayed class starts?

| Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, 8:36 p.m.

There are things you know you need to go back to school, like pencils and folders and a backpack.

Other things you take for granted. Things like air that isn’t rich with mold.

It appears that wasn’t something anyone thought about earlier this year.

With some schools already in session and others that were slated to start Tuesday, a number of districts in the Greater Pittsburgh area and beyond have noticed they had a mold problem mere days before students were slated to crack open books.

It has been a wet summer and a very rainy August. But that seems like a reason to take precautions, not to have a dawning realization grow on you like, well, mold.

Parents of Highlands High School students got a recorded message about classes being postponed a week. The message came the night before students were supposed to board buses.

Plum, Shaler, Pine-Richland, Mt. Pleasant, Southmoreland. A total of six area districts have at least one of their buildings putting off the first day of class until the creeping crud can be scrubbed from the structures.

But what’s a little mold, right? It’s not that big a deal. Mold happens.

It does happen, but it’s also predictable. It happens with the presence of warmth, water and spores, and feeds off paper, cardboard, wood and things like ceiling tiles, insulation and drywall. You know, the basic building blocks of an average school.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, people sensitive to mold can have respiratory, eye or skin reactions. Those are more severe in people with allergies or asthma, who could develop fevers and shortness of breath. With a weakened immune system, mold infections can set in.

But hey, it’s not like that same CDC didn’t say childhood asthma and allergies have increased dramatically over the past decade or so. Oh wait, they have.

Huh. If only there was a way to see this coming.

“As part of routine building maintenance, buildings should be inspected for evidence of water damage and visible mold. The conditions causing mold (such as water leaks, condensation, infiltration or flooding) should be corrected to prevent mold from growing,” the CDC website states in its mold FAQ.

Seems like someone should have done the summer reading.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me