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Report notes that schools’ indoor air ‘significantly cleaner’ than outdoor air

Indoor air quality tests recently conducted at two Fayetteville-Manlius School District schools showed that the indoor air in both buildings was significantly cleaner than the outdoor air.

Before school started, district officials noticed mold growth in some carpeted areas of Enders Road and Mott Road elementary schools after both schools’ carpets were shampooed during routine summer cleaning. At Enders, the carpets were again cleaned and treated, and at Mott Road, the carpets in five small offices were replaced with floor tile to match other areas of the building.

The district then asked the OCM BOCES Department of Health, Safety and Risk Management to test the air quality at both Enders Road and Mott Road elementary schools. Testing results are based upon a comparison of indoor and outdoor air quality, according to the report.

The report notes that the summer of 2018 was “notably humid in comparison to others” and that those conditions make it difficult to thoroughly dry carpeting after it has been shampooed. When humidity levels climb, the district uses dehumidifiers as needed to reduce moisture levels in its buildings. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, it is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment, but mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture levels.

“We will review our maintenance schedule to ensure that going forward we are cleaning carpets at a time when humidity levels are low so the carpets thoroughly dry,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. “And like any homeowner, we will continue to monitor the humidity levels within our buildings to ensure we have a healthy environment. Ultimately, our goal is to replace the carpet with floor tile.”