‘Moderate to heavy’ mold detected at elementary school in Prince George

Prince George elementary school closed for clean-up

PRINCE GEORGE, VA (WWBT) - Walton Elementary School reopened on Wednesday, Feb. 13, after mold was removed.

Environmental crews have been deep cleaning and testing of the entire building, since reports of mold surfaced last month. Prince George County Public Schools said the school will remain closed through Tuesday, while the mold is treated.

Superintendent Renee Williams said teachers first alerted school administrators to possible mold and mildew in classrooms in January.

Williams said tests were conducted in late January, and six areas were found to have mold. Those areas included five classrooms which had to be relocated, at the time.

As cleaning efforts began, additional testing was done of the entire building. Four more areas were subsequently identified as having “moderate to heavy” mold, according to Assistant Superintendent Lisa Pennycuff.

Last Friday, environmental teams continued cleaning and remediation efforts, addressing about 10 areas altogether in the school. HVAC and filtering systems were thoroughly cleaned out, as well as heavy wiping and vacuuming across impacted areas, according to administrators.

“They have cleaned everything. They have worked heavily into the duct work,” said Assistant Superintendent Lisa Pennycuff. “We wanted to do more than what was required, just to be sure that our children were in good hands, and our teachers were in good hands.”

Crews were cleaning up at the Prince George school on Monday. (Source: NBC12)
Crews were cleaning up at the Prince George school on Monday. (Source: NBC12)

“We identified the problem. We are doing everything as expeditiously as we can to clear up any issues,” Williams said.

Retesting to make sure all areas are again safe is ongoing and will be completed tomorrow. Williams hopes the school will reopen Wednesday.

Parents told the Prince George Journal that “we received a letter stating a mold problem in three classrooms” and that the issue has been a problem since the beginning of the school year.

“Two weeks ago, I randomly found out my child’s classroom was one of the classes with mold,” the parent told the Journal. “I was upset because my child has a mold allergy, has been coughing and been getting sick since school started, so it would have been nice to know.”

Williams said the school is also hiring another company to check the roof, to make sure water isn’t leaking into the building.

“We have a company coming to check on our roof to make sure that moisture is not coming in, and if it is coming in, how we can fix that also," said Williams.

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