Mold found in Waynesville school delays start of classes

District hopes remediation is done by Tuesday, so high school and middle school can begin after one-week delay

With an hour notice this week, Wayne Local Schools cancelled the Aug. 11 open house at the high school and middle school, which share the same building, and delayed the start of school for grades 7-12 by a week.

Classes were scheduled to begin last Tuesday (Aug. 16), but will now begin this coming Tuesday. There were no changes to the start of school for preschool through sixth grade at Waynesville Elementary.

In addition, the junior/senior high school building was closed to all students, staff and visitors until further notice as of Aug. 11. The district posted the information on its website and notified parents, officials said. The open house and new student orientation will not be re-scheduled.

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Superintendent Pat Dubbs said surface mold was discovered in some classrooms in the high school wing. The district conducted an inspection of all spaces in the junior/senior high, and determined that in the interest of the health and safety of students and staff, they needed to close the Junior/Senior High building until corrective actions had been taken.

Dubbs said there was a failure in the HVAC controls in the high school, causing increased humidity levels. The material in the ceiling tiles absorbed the moisture, creating the mold.

“We have taken out every ceiling tile and are replacing them,” said Dubbs, who is about to leave the school district for a job at Goshen schools. “We will be steam-cleaning the carpeting, deep cleaning all spaces, and clearing the dust created by removing the ceiling tiles. We’re not taking any shortcuts.”

Dubbs has been meeting with various remediation contractors and insurance companies to quickly remediate the mold damage. He said crews will be working through the weekend.

As of Friday afternoon, Dubbs said, “we’re on course to be in face-to-face classroom learning on Tuesday.”

Dubbs said school will not reopen until air quality tests produce results that indicate it is safe to do so. The health consultant will complete multiple follow-up tests after remediation is complete.

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Athletic Director Jamie Manley communicated information to the coaches and athletes regarding athletics.

Warren County Career Center and Alternative School students continued with school, as a shuttle bus to and from the high school parking lot to the Career Center and Alternative School continued as normal.

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