AUGUSTA – In-depth tests indicate the air inside Cony High School is clean and the ventilation system is working.

The new, more intensive tests were taken after four students fainted in school last week.

Augusta schools Superintendent Cornelia Brown said the results of a building performance evaluation report on Cony’s ventilation system indicate the building’s comfort and ventilation, air cleanliness and building pollutant levels were all within recommended guidelines.

The report — by Aircuity, a building ventilation and air-monitoring systems firm — showed that relative humidity in part of the building was slightly below recommended guidelines and should be reviewed.

Brown said John Pucciarelli, director of buildings and grounds for Augusta schools, is working on bringing relative humidity levels to within guidelines.

On Feb. 10, four students fainted, all of whom had been in the chorus room at Cony that morning. Two fainted in the chorus room itself during a chorus class. The other two fainted elsewhere in the building after the class.

One student fell down a set of stairs after fainting and was taken to the hospital, then released that same day, according to Principal James Anastasio. Several other students also went to the nurse’s office after reporting they felt light-headed.

Of the approximately 50 students who had been in the room, all who reported symptoms were checked by a nurse, Anastasio said.

Anastasio said the school’s air-monitoring equipment initially indicated no problems, and air-handling equipment seemed to be working fine. More in-depth testing of the system was performed over a 24-hour period last week.

Those results came back this week, and echoed the initial tests indicating an air-quality problem wasn’t likely to have caused students to faint.

Officials said they aren’t sure why the four students who had been in the same room fainted.

Brown said the chorus room will be open again for students on Monday, their first day back from February vacation.

”The School Department takes air quality very seriously and extensively monitored the area in question,” Brown said. ”The high school has a state-of-the-art air-handling system, and we will continue to watch any areas for any abnormalities.”

As an additional precaution, temperatures in the chorus room will be monitored, Brown said.

She said that when the chorus room is in use, the temperature is at 74 degrees and possibly too warm when there are 50 students in the room.

However, she said the temperature of the room has not been an issue previously and the temperature was not unusually warm the day the students became ill.


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