Richmond's Fox ES under immediate mold remediation - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

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Richmond's Fox ES under immediate mold remediation

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Richmond's Fox Elementary School is under immediate mold remediation this weekend after black mold was detected in the school's insulation, according to Richmond Public Schools administrators.

Assistant Superintendent Tommy Kranz says crews began inspecting the 105-year-old school after a pipe leak was reported earlier in the week. Black mold was subsequently discovered in the insulation around the basement level of the building, which has six classrooms. The pipe leak was determined to be an unrelated issue from the mold.

A teacher a Fox Elementary School says there's been mold in multiple classrooms throughout the school, and students and staff could have been breathing it in. Jennifer Ramachandran believes the responsibility falls onto the city of Richmond for not allocating Richmond Public Schools the funding they requested to fix school facilities. Ramachandran says pictures of what she says is mold on ceiling and piping throughout the building, were presented publicly over a year ago during a Support Richmond Public Schools rally and petitioning of council members.


"Mold does not occur overnight. With the Support Our Schools movement, we held signs last year, at our very first rally in February, bringing awareness to the issues of our schools," said Ramachandran.

Ramachandran says she’s grateful something is finally being done, after the lower level of William Fox Elementary flooded several times this past week. Ramachandran says when workers went in to clean up the water, they found the very thing she said had been there all along. "They have found black mold and the humidity levels have been high… The humidity levels are different in all of the rooms, in the basement… which they are looking to remediate this weekend."

RPS requested $10 million to fix up facilities. The city gave one million.  Fox Elementary School’s principal says the building is safe and will be clean by class time on Monday.

Air-quality tests were conducted by an environmental testing company. Kranz says that mold levels detected outside the school were higher than any mold levels taken inside the building. Kranz says that indicates students and staff were not exposed to harmful conditions. However, as a proactive measure, Kranz says crews are going to remove any mold discovered.

Crews are replacing insulation and cleaning air conditioner units. So far, the work is focused on the basement level of the school. The above two floors will also be checked for any mold, according to Kranz.

"We really feel that this leads back to the funding issues and the lack of funding that city council and our city administration has given to RPS," added Ramachandran.

Students and staff are expected to return Monday. The maintenance work is expected to continue Monday night and Tuesday night. No one but maintenance crews are allowed inside the building this weekend.

A letter was sent home to all parents from principal Ms. Daniela Jacobs.

Greetings Fox Family,

This is your principal Daniela Jacobs, with an update on some work that will be completed in our building.  As I am sure you are aware, we have been challenged with flooding and dampness, especially in the basement area.  This weekend, contractors will be working around the clock mitigating some environmental issues, cleaning out HVAC units, and replacing insulation around piping.  Additionally, we are working on a solution to prevent any further flooding in the basement area.  Please know, that our building is safe and there are no health concerns for students or staff!   If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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