Legionella found at Kettering school that hosts summer childcare

Last two weeks of program being moved to another school while district disinfects system

The Kettering school district has received a positive test result for Legionella in its water supply at an elementary building that houses a summer childcare program.

Retesting the water at John F. Kennedy Elementary School is scheduled for Saturday, and the childcare program is being shifted to the YMCA for its last two weeks as a “precautionary measure,” Kettering City Schools Business Services Director Jeff Johnson told the Dayton Daily News on Thursday.

“The positive locations were in a couple classroom sinks,” he said. “In discussions with the YMCA we decided to move the summer program … even though they do not use our classrooms.”

Johnson said in a Wednesday afternoon message to board of education members that Solid Blend Technologies Inc. will use “a hydrochlorination and disinfecting method with all water piping, building-wide” and retest J.F. Kennedy’s water supply for the bacteria which can cause pneumonia-like Legionnaires’ disease.

There have been 17 cases of the disease — none involving youths — reported to Public Health–Dayton & Montgomery County this year as of Thursday, said Dan Suffoletto, the group’s public information manager.

Kettering began testing the water supply in school buildings July 12 and no Legionella was found at Greenmont and Prass elementaries, Johnson said. Testing in the remaining schools was completed July 20, he added.

Results of the first three elementaries came in Monday night, Johnson said. Results are usually known 10-14 days after testing, he said.

In June, initial testing of water samples at the fieldhouse at Kettering Fairmont High School’s Roush Stadium prompted the school district to close that facility.

Follow-up tests later came back negative for Legionella, and the fieldhouse is “fully operational,” Johnson has said.

Earlier this month, the Oakwood school district found the Legionella bacteria in its water supply for the fourth straight year. Water usage at Oakwood Junior High and High School, where bacteria was found, was immediately limited, officials said.

Solid Blend is scheduled to return Friday and retest the water systems in those buildings, according to Oakwood officials.

In 2020, when schools had a longer-than-normal closure due to the COVID pandemic, several districts found Legionella in their water, including Dayton, Northmont and Vandalia-Butler.

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