Mold issues prompt closures at two school districts

GALENA, Ill. (KCRG-TV9) - Mold problems from the hot weather and overworked air conditioners are causing issues at two school districts.

Wapsie Valley Schools closed Tuesday and Galena, Illinois schools sent home elementary students to repair air conditioning units and clean up potential mold issues.

In a letter sent home to parents, Wapsie Valley said the issues began there in August when it discovered mold spots in Fairbank and Readlyn elementary buildings. The district believed those were isolated incidents and cleaned up the mold. It later discovered a larger issue with its heating and cooling system was behind the mold and causing more issues, which prompted Tuesday's closure.

"We are working with air quality experts, HVAC Contractors, and cleaning specialists to develop a course of action that will assure student and staff safety," Wapsie Valley Superintendent Jim Stanton told KCRG-TV9.

Wapsie Valley did not immediately have a timeline for when students would be able to go back to school. Wednesday is a planned closure for a staff service day.

Galena's mold issue was only in its K-4th grade Elementary building. Superintendent Greg Herbst said the buildings air conditioner has had issues that hit again over the holiday weekend. The humid weather caused the floor to sweat, which left some mold spots on carpet.

"It's not unlike what some people might get at home in a damp basement," said Herbst. "That doesn't require anyone to evacuate the house," he added saying there was no health concern from the mold.

Galena had repair workers and carpet cleaners in Tuesday to clear up the issues as a precaution and planned to have students back on Wednesday.