Students returned to Parkview Elementary after seven weeks of attending classes at other schools on Wednesday, Nov. 13. (Jim Elliot/Eagle Valley News)

Parents unhappy mould issue at Sicamous school not made public sooner

School District #83 says clean up of trouble areas will address air quality concerns

Parents of Parkview Elementary students are unhappy with the lack of communication regarding mould and other air quality issues at the school on the part of the school district.

Elevated mould concentration in the air in various parts of the school was discovered during air-quality testing by a school district contractor on Sept. 19, Oct. 2 and Nov. 15, 2019. The tests were in response to a musty smell which was noticed following a rain storm in September 2019. Classes at the school were suspended until Nov. 13 2019 and students were bused to other schools temporarily.

A report on the monitoring efforts dated Dec. 10 was attached to the agenda for the school board’s Jan. 21 meeting. After reading the report, some parents were concerned to find it had been over a month since tests were concluded and no information from the results was provided to them.

Melissa Fallis said concerns from fellow Parkview parents she has talked to include the lack of correspondence about test results, and that testing conducted after students returned to school still turned up elevated levels of airborne mould spores in some areas. Along with the mould, the report found the ventilation system was not circulating air to the correct standard in some parts of the school.

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Interior Health approved the return of students to the school and SD #83 officials maintain that efforts to improve ventilation in the school and clean up some trouble areas will stop future air quality issues.

Not everyone is convinced. Cassy Attfield says she pulled her daughter from Parkview after reading the report. The issue of air quality at the school is especially pressing for Attfield as her daughter was recently diagnosed with asthma.

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Attfield said her daughter began using an inhaler to treat a persistent cough in late November. Cassy said if she had access to the report when it was completed, knowing air conditions were not ideal she would have discussed the possibility of taking her daughter out of school sooner.

“We deserve the information when it comes to the health of our children,” said Attfield.

Attfiled said she has requested a report from an engineer confirming the air flow and quality has improved. Although she has received assurances the air quality problems have been remedied, Attfield said she wants to see evidence before her daughter returns to school.

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