DOE said that the mold was cleaned out over the weekend and that was why students could return to their classrooms, but many parents on Monday remained concerned and distrusting of the DOE.
Early last Friday, DOE said that tests of the seven classrooms which were said to have mold came back negative. But later in the day, a memo sent to M.S. 577 parents, admitted that indeed seven classrooms on the fifth floor were found to have spores of the Stacybotrys chartarum mold, a strain of mold which the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) cautions against indoor exposure, as it may lead to a variety of upper respiratory complications.
“I am frustrated that it took over two weeks for the DOE to identify a health risk in M.S. 577,” said Councilwoman Diana Reyna, who rallied on Friday and again on Monday with parents and with District Leader Lincoln Restler in an effort to move the students out of the building.
“During those two weeks, even as far back as December, our children were being exposed to a potentially toxic environment,” she added.
She called for an immediate relocation of M.S. 577 students until DOE can confirm that there is no future risk of mold contamination. She also called for an independent review of the decontamination process and environmental assessment of the school.
On Friday, Reslter praised the M.S. 577 community for their efforts in making the DOE recognize the severity of the health risks in the building. He said he hoped that the DOE would find a nearby, alternative site for class on Monday but no such alternative was ever required.
And on Monday night, parents took up the issue again as they demanded that the DOE relocate the students and do further testing at the North Fifth Street school.
According to the local leaders and parents, last month several teachers and students developed mold-related health problems, such as trouble breathing.
“These classrooms are not safe for our students,” Reslter said.