FARMINGDALE — Regional School Unit 2 is taking steps to remove black mold that was found in one of two classrooms at Hall-Dale Middle School that were closed off last month after two teachers reported developing rashes.

Superintendent Bill Zima said Thursday that Mark Tinkham, the school principal, sent a letter to parents of students at the school.

Cynthia Raymond, left, and Amelia Clukey say they remain concerned about the condition of classrooms at Hall-Dale Middle School after mold was found in the room where Raymond teaches. Staff photo by Jessica Lowell

In it, he said the industrial hygienist who tested the rooms found nothing of concern in the air, but found some black mold in a wall cavity behind a bookcase in Room 210. The report by Safe Environmental Solutions was issued Monday.

“Although it was not found in the airstream and was concealed in a wall under a window, it is still a zero-tolerant type of mold,” Tinkham’s letter said. “So, we will rectify the situation as soon as possible. Even though the air-quality tests indicate there is not a current state of risk and mold was not found in the second room, we will continue to to keep both rooms closed.”

The wall will be opened up during the summer break, the mold will be mitigated and the wall will be repaired before students return in the fall, Zima said.

However, teachers Cynthia Raymond and Amelia Clukey remain concerned about the conditions in their classrooms.

In May, their adjoining rooms were closed after Raymond and Clukey said they developed rashes and reported feeling uncomfortable on an unseasonably warm day.

They documented with photos the rashes that they said appeared during school hours. Clukey said hers cleared up within an hour or so of leaving school. But Raymond, who said she has been getting hives on her face, arms and legs since early this year, said her condition took longer to clear up. She has been taking two kinds of antihistamines since February.

In May, Zima said the classrooms would remain closed until an environmental consultant could investigate. He also said at the time, before the tests were conducted, that district officials had looked in the ceiling, air vents and throughout the classrooms and had not detected mold or other problems that could have caused the teachers’ discomfort.

At a meeting of the RSU 2 Facilities and Food Service Committee on Thursday, both Raymond and Clukey told Zima and the board members that they were frustrated and angry about how the situation was handled. They said they had complained about conditions in the rooms long before their closure, including windows that they couldn’t open.

“My greatest concern is for the students with pre-existing conditions,” Raymond said. “They have weakened immune systems, so exposure to mold is not a good thing.”

Raymond said she filed a claim with Maine School Management Association for payment for her medical bills and prescriptions, but it was denied even before the report was issued. She said she is appealing that decision.

“We’re not letting this go,” Clukey said.

Zima said when things come to his attention, he takes care of them.

“I want to make sure the people who work at RSU 2 are well taken care of, and we create the buildings and structures and the learning environments that support them,” he said. “I try to get an understanding of what’s going on and I try to be supportive of people.”

Zima said the industrial hygienist will return to the school as soon as next week to put up a barrier and open up the wall.

“We have no idea how expansive it is,” Zima said. “Once we have that, we’ll fix the leak in the window and put up new drywall and have them come in and test the rooms again.”

Earlier this year, Manchester Elementary School was inspected by consultants after mold was discovered in the basement. Teachers and students had complained of headaches and other symptoms.

Jessica Lowell can be contacted at 621-5632 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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