Classes cancelled at Valleyfield school due to spreading mould
Published Sunday, March 10, 2013 6:43PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 11, 2013 1:54PM EDT
MONTREAL—Classes are cancelled until Thursday at the Gault Institute in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. While other students return from March Break, a mould problem at Gault seems to be more widespread than first thought.
Workers dispatched to test and remove the mould over March Break found more mould than expected, leaving some parents worried about the future of their school. Health Inspectors though, caution that they have yet to see anything alarming.
“I just want reports. I just want them to show us the reports,” said Catherine Blouin, a concerned parent. “It's easy to say there's a little bit of mould here, a little bit of mould there, but we want to see the reports. We want to keep our kids and staff safe and healthy.”
Blouin said her son has missed about 30 days of school this year due to nausea, dizziness and headaches.
“I'm very concerned. I have a doctor's appointment to do, complete tests, to make sure everything is okay with my son,” the mother continued.
Parents are worried there might be bigger problems than the school board is revealing. Blouin took photos and says there's evidence of water infiltration and mould in areas the school isn't looking at.
“We saw some in the classes, near the windows, even in the kids' lockers.”
School board officials, however, say they're being cautious and have performed further tests.
“What we've heard back is it's not alarming the amount of mould that have been found, but we're taking it very seriously. We want to make it as safe as possible for our students and our employees,” said Rob Buttars of the New Frontiers School Board.
The board met Sunday to create a contingency plan. Students are off for now, but teachers reported to work Monday—at a nearby church.
“We're waiting for some more air quality tests to come back and Sante publique will provide us direction as to when and if we can stay in Gault to do the instruction,” said Buttars.
The school board hopes to put a short-term plan in place as soon as possible so students can continue to learn. Meantime, parents are planning a demonstration Monday morning to tell the school they want to see results.
“I hope they're not just putting a plaster, like they say in French, ‘A plaster on the bobo.’ I hope that's not what they're doing right now,” said Denise Allard, another concerned parents.
The school board is holding an information meeting at Chateauguay Regional High School on Monday night to reveal its findings to parents, and also decide what's next for the students.