Schools across the country are set to reopen after the summer break and many of them will have been shuttered for over a year. The possibility of unchecked mold growth over these many months is very high. Find out more about the importance of inspections for mold and what to do if there is a mold problem.
Shuttered schools are reopening as the country emerges from the intensive fight against COVID-19 and there is a lot of work to be done. All buildings, including schools, that have sat unused for over a year need to be thoroughly inspected for a variety of problems, including unchecked mold growth.
Mold Growth in Unused Buildings
Dangerous molds can grow in areas where there is moisture present. It is most common to find mold near areas of high humidity like in a boiler room or near an area affected by leaks or condensation. When a school is in normal operation, humidity and water leaks are generally detected quickly and fixed as soon as possible. Any mold issues would be taken care of immediately.
When schools were shuttered and very few, if any, people were entering the building, moisture, condensation, and water leaks were often not noticed. Mold had the perfect opportunity to grow, unchecked, for many months. The problem could potentially be enormous.
In some instances, the moisture source for the mold growth may be in between the walls and undetectable by visual inspection. Mold may be growing out of sight, but the spores are still in the air. A professional inspection for the mold of any shuttered building, including schools, should be performed before reopening.
When mold grows, it is not only a health hazard, but it also damages the structure of a building. The longer mold is left untreated, the more damage it does. Walls, carpets, wood, and upholstery can all be susceptible to mold damage. In many instances, these items must be removed and replaced.
Health Implications of Mold in Schools
Breathing in mold spores can cause a multitude of health issues for those learning and working in the space. Children and those with compromised immune systems are especially susceptible to mold’s negative health implications.
Mold can cause a wide range of symptoms. Some people with a sensitivity to mold will experience nasal congestion, wheezing, itchy eyes and irritated skin. A more severe allergy to mold also is a concern as well as the effects it has on people who have asthma. These students and staff may experience more intense upper respiratory tract symptoms and increased intensity and frequency of asthma attacks.
It is incredibly important that any and all mold issues within a building are remediated before students and staff are welcomed back to school. According to The Center for Green Schools Five Guiding Principles, COVID relief funding targeted towards the improvement of facilities should be used to protect students and teachers from environmental hazards in an environmentally sustainable way. Alliance Environmental’s mold abatement techniques that use heat are the best way to ensure mold issues are taken care of without introducing harmful chemicals back into the environment.
Reopening Schools Safely
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is essential that buildings, including schools, are thoroughly inspected and all traces of mold are removed before regular use of the building resumes.
These steps should be taken to ensure a safe re-opening for both students and staff:
- The building should be professionally inspected for any signs of mold including moisture, water leaks, odors, and visual indications. This inspection should be done by a professional mold abatement company that has experience with schools and other large buildings.
- Any moisture, condensation or leaks should be addressed as soon as possible in order to stop any further mold growth.
- Mold should be removed thoroughly by a professional mold abatement company.
- Any surfaces damaged by mold need to be repaired and replaced with new materials. This could include portions of walls, carpets, ceilings, insulation, or other organic materials.
- The HVAC system should be cleaned and inspected in order to ensure that mold spores are not lingering within the air system. Choosing a mold abatement company that also works with HVAC systems and air quality is useful.
- Regularly inspect the building for moisture, condensation, and the presence of mold.
Choosing a Mold Abatement Company
Mold is a serious problem and it is important to work with a reliable mold abatement company. Students and staff want to get back to school in a healthy and safe environment. It is important not to sacrifice their safety by cutting corners on proper facilities maintenance.
Alliance Environmental offers professional, thorough, and prompt mold abatement services that can help to restore any building back to pre-pandemic safety conditions. They use an innovative method of chemical-free mold abatement technology that ensures that mold is safely removed from all affected areas without the use of toxic chemicals.
When choosing a mold abatement company, facilities managers should make sure to look for an experienced company with a good track record. Alliance Environmental is an excellent choice for reliable and effective mold removal. Their experienced and certified team is able to assess the structure, safely repair the source of the moisture, remove the mold and restore the area. They also offer HVAC services to make sure there are no lingering spores within the ventilation system.
A professional mold abatement company like Alliance Environmental not only removes the mold, but they also take steps to ensure that the mold problem does not reoccur.
Removing Mold with Heat
Alliance Environmental uses state-of-the-art heat treatment technology that eliminates all traces of mold from the building. This innovative technology is chemical-free, odorless, and is effective at treating mold, fungus, mildew, and some viruses.
Once the area has been assessed and the source of the moisture repaired, the mold can be heat treated. The team at Alliance seals off the area and uses specialized equipment that applies high heat. Mold and mold spores are eliminated, even in cracks and voids that are otherwise inaccessible. Heat treatment also kills insects that could be causing the mold to be spread throughout the building.
The Return to School
Whether it is COVID or schools closed for the annual summer break, it is important for those spaces to be as safe as possible for the returning staff and students. A reliable mold abatement company like Alliance Environmental can help schools and school boards prepare their buildings for a safe return to in-person learning. Request an estimate today.