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Mold delays first day of school at Lugoff Elementary

Posted: August 15, 2013 4:22 p.m.
Updated: August 16, 2013 5:00 a.m.
Miciah Bennett/C-I

Billy Smith, director of operations for Kershaw County School District inspects mold growth at Lugoff Elementary School.

Thanks to mold that grew as a result of recent heavy rainfall, Lugoff Elementary School (LES) won’t report for their first day of classes until Thursday, Aug. 22.

According to a Kershaw County School District (KCSD) press release, the delay will allow time for the thorough cleaning and air quality tests of area where mold was discovered late last week. All other district schools will open on schedule Monday.

“Like other communities across the state, we have experienced a heavy amount of rainfall recently, and this has created more moisture in the building at Lugoff Elementary,” KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan said. “At the end of last week as teachers returned, we discovered areas of mold in several of the school’s classrooms. Over the past few days, we have worked with a professional cleaning company to address the problem but learned this morning that more classrooms are impacted than we originally thought.”

Morgan said that using an abundance of caution was the best solution in this situation to allow a professional cleaning company time to do its job thoroughly and then test the air quality. The delay will also allow teachers time to return to set up their classrooms. Originally, district personnel had been under the impression that the cleaning company would be able to rid the classrooms of mold in time for school to open on Monday.

“I apologize for the disruption that this delay causes in family schedules. We greatly appreciate the patience and cooperation of Lugoff Elementary School families as we work to resolve this situation,” Morgan said.

The superintendent said the cleaning company told the district that once the building is properly cleaned, the problem should be resolved and not recur. Morgan said the company the district hired is working with a number of other schools across the state.

“So, this problem is not unique to us but is, unfortunately, what can happen in a building that is more than 40 years old,” Morgan said.  

LES Principal Melissa Lloyd said the mold affected about 15 to 20 classrooms. KCSD Director of Operations Billy Smith said the cleaning company told him that LES has “surface mold.”

“If you weren’t looking for it you would have never known there was a mold issue … (but) you don’t want to take any chances with the health of our students or staff,” Smith said.

Smith said parents can rest assured that the building will be safe when their children return.

KCSD Director for Communications Mary Anne Byrd said the district will be working with the S.C. Department of Education to determine if make-up days are needed. Delaying the start of school was the best overall solution, she said.

LES’ kindergarten orientation is now scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 21. Other missed grade-level parent orientations are being rescheduled for later dates.


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