Officials with the Philadelphia School District closed John B. Kelley Elementary School on Wednesday after finding what the district describes as traces of mold in the building. Officials say that they have just discovered the problem, however, parents and teachers say that they reported the problem as early as 2015. Those associated with the school located in the Germantown neighborhood also say that they question what the district is describing as a little mold. On Wednesday, officials say that they found over 600 square feet of mold in 10 classrooms. A day later, officials say that they located another 400 square feet of mold in 15 other places including hallways and bathrooms.
While the district says that they work weekly with the teachers’ union, teachers at the district say that they have reported problems with the building that was built in 1970 for at least the last two years. Music teacher Stephen Flemming became so distraught about mold in his classroom that he sent the superintendent a photo. He says that he regularly has to move his classes to the library or cafeteria because of the stench in his classroom. Meanwhile, fifth-grade teacher Stephanie Mathis says that pipes in her classroom leak in at least five places. She says that she has had to repeatedly take time off because of respiratory problems.
Mold Found at All Monroe Township District Schools
Officials with the district say that the school will remain closed indefinitely while the problem is fixed. It is not the only school, however, to suffer from mold issues. All six schools in the Monroe Township District have been closed over mold through at least October 13, 2017. The district had announced that one elementary school would be closed through the remainder of the year, but they canceled that plan when they discovered mold in additional schools. While the district claims that the problem was just discovered on October 2, 2017, teachers say that they reported the problem in 2012.
Over 1,020 residents attended the emergency school district meeting on October 9, 2017, to demand answers from elected officials. Students report that while they were in class workers removed moldy ceiling tiles in their classrooms. Some students report having health issues that could have been mold-related, but they remain hopeful that proper cleanup will make the school better than ever.