ROANOKE Co., Va – People concerned about the cleanliness of Roanoke County's Cave Spring High School met Tuesday night for a lesson on mold. The problem was discovered after plans to redo the school had to be put on hold.
Parents are concerned about their children who will return to the school next month. The school division insists it will be clean and ready to go. Parents hope that's the case, but Tuesday night they enlisted a mold researcher to do a little learning of their own.
Pictures inside the school showing what appears to be mold and unsanitary conditions were what started this situation. They spread online quickly and left many in disgust.
"I didn't take this on myself. I was asked, I got the tour, took the pictures, and the pictures don't lie," Cave Spring High School parent teacher student organization president Lorie Bowling said. "It's not good."
Dr. Janine Talty said mold affects one in every four people severely because of genetics. Bowling and the PTSO enlisted her expertise Tuesday night for a 'mold 101."
"(The session was about) the symptoms, the underlying causes, how the body reacts and wehre we're finding these molds in our interior spaces and how they're making us dreadfully sick," Talty said.
Roanoke County Schools said it's thoroughly cleaning Cave Spring High School and the school will be ready.
"We conducted an extensive air quality test using an independent testing expert. The results found the mold counts at Cave Spring High School to be very good, lower than counts found in outside air," Roanoke County Schools spokesman Chuck Lionberger said in a statement. "We are confident that the school will be ready for students when classes resume August 13th."
Bowling said a recent tour of the building does show things looking better, but Talty told parents to keep an eye out.
"If your child gets sick, it's probably not a virus that came from summer. It might be the school that's making them sick," Talty said.
Bowling said the PTSO is looking into bringing in its own mold testing company because they're unsure of the procedures and protocols being used by the division-hired tester. The organization is raising money for expenses fighting the school could create, but they hope it won't be needed.
"I'm keeping an open mind that things are going to get better," Bowling said. "That is the goal, safety for our kids and teachers."
Bowling will get an inside look at Cave Spring on Wednesday along with school administrators for a progress tour. And with the first day of school winding closer, parents say the clock is ticking to get the school up to par.