Here's the latest update from the Arbor Heights
environment task force. Forgive the late update, I know I promised every
Thursday, but Thursdays have proven to be too hectic. Monday updates are
Student and Staff Testing:
The district reiterated its willingness to pay
for student mold exposure testing, should parents decide to have their child
tested. Testing does involve a blood test, so parents should take that
into account when deciding. It's best if the doctor performing the test
is knowledgeable in mold exposure issues. The district would like to
have a limited number of doctors doing the testing, such as the Pediatric
Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU). The parents representatives
suggested that some parents might be more comfortable with an independent
doctor. That was acceptable. The details of the process is still
being worked out. Our consultant, Dr. Anderson, has said he will provide
us with a list of specialists he knows, so we can give parents a choice
when it comes to testing. Fred Stephens also mentioned that they would
be willing to pay for a consultation, if the parents wanted that first before
deciding o! n whether to have the testing done.
The district asked whether it might be a good
idea to have someone from PEHSU or another physician to come in and meet
with parents as a group and answer their questions with regards to
symptoms, health affects, and other health related issues, so they can make a
more informed choice as to whether to have their kids tested, or not. We
think that's a good idea, but time in the school year is very short, so such a
meeting might have to be held during the summer. That's not an ideal
situation, but we'll try to put something together.
Staff is covered under district insurance
and workman's comp. So testing expenses for them are already
Temporary Pumping of the Crawlspaces:
Temporary pumping of the water under the
building started Friday, 6/9. The water was tested, and Seattle Public
Utilities gave their approval to pump the water into the storm drain.
The space will be pumped as needed to keep the standing water out of the
space. This is not a permanent solution, but hopefully it will begin
drying out the space somewhat, and retard the mold growth.
Staff Symptom Surveys:
Dr. Anderson will conduct symptom survey
interviews of the staff to help him evaluate the environment of the building,
and perhaps uncover some places where mold might be hiding, in addition to the
areas we know about. The surveys will be done on June 14th and
15th. See "Finding Mold Before It Finds You" on the Envirotest
web site at http://www.airmon.com/#Health
Student Absence Data:
We've asked the district if they would be
willing to extract and summarize student absence data by room for Arbor
Heights for the last several years, so Dr. Anderson can look at it and
possibly see trends in absence rates that might be related to mold. They
agreed, and they've already provided information for this year, however, they
just changed computer systems for tracking student attendance, so extracting
previous years data is more complicated. Still, the district is
collating that information, and it should be available to the task force, and
Dr. Anderson, this week.
School Repair Work Orders:
We've asked the district to search through work
orders for the school to see where water damage has occured over the last few
years and been repaired, as these might be possible problem sites.
They've agreed to do this. That data should also be available this
The district has hired a hydrogeologist to try
to find the source of the water under the building, he's already started his
investigation. The district has hired Bodine Construction, which was
recommended by the hydrogeologist, to consult with the district to develop a
permanent fix. Bodine Construction has a very good reputation in the
industry for handling water drainage problems.
Will Work Be Completed By Next School Year?
The question came up during the meeting as to
whether the remediation work will be completed before the beginning of the
next school year. That is the plan. All work should be done over
the summer, unless the problem is more widespread than is now known, or there
are other unforeseen circumstances. In that case the district has
already begun the permitting process to bring portables to the school.
They will be available in the event work is not completed before the opening
of school next year.
Parent's Meeting With Dr. Anderson:
Dr. Anderson is happy to come out and meet with
parents to answer their questions directly about the situation at Arbor
Heights, but he asked that the meeting be scheduled after he prepares his
initial report so everybody has time to read it prior to the meeting.
The report will be complete after the symptom surveys and some additional
testing is done. We don't have a firm date, but it will likely be within
a few weeks. We'll set up a meeting as soon as the report is ready.
We didn't get any questions this week. If
you have any questions for the task force, please send them to this e-mail
address and they'll be forwarded to the appropriate people, and on the agenda
for the next meeting. We'll respond to all questions we receive in this
E. Joe Sharp
Arbor Heights Environmental Task Force