Often associated with the term “outbreak” are yellow hazmat suits and quarantines, but the mold outbreak that hit the Mountain View High School campus mid-September posed more of an inconvenience than a health threat. The mold, discovered in rooms 317, 318, 319, and 320, formed as a result of two broken heating units that dumped large amounts of water inside the walls.
Though the mold was mostly a nuisance to teachers, MVHS administration was concerned about a potential health threat to people with severe mold allergies. In order to prioritize safety, MVHS administration immediately moved classes out of the affected rooms and called in experts to assess the situation.
“The district is taking this really seriously because it has interrupted student learning, the teachers are really inconvenienced, and it’s a health issue,” Lynne Ewald, vice principal, said. “We haven’t heard that anybody has been sick, but that’s why we took everybody out of [the affected classrooms]as soon as we knew [the mold]was an issue.”
Soon thereafter, the mold was found to be deeply entrenched in the walls; professionals first uprooted the electricity from within the walls and then proceeded to remove damaged portions of drywall and insulation. Following this process, the air in the rooms was tested for mold, and all four rooms still tested positive. Until the rooms tested negative, the removal of drywall continued steadily. Currently, the team is in the process of taping, spackling, sanding, and re-painting the walls, as well as reconfiguring the electricity.
In the meantime, the faculty whose classrooms were affected by the mold, Kristine Bautista, Diane Esparza, Monica Espinoza, Heather Boyle, and Paige Price, were temporarily displaced. Other staff members have lent their classrooms to these teachers during their prep periods, and MVHS’s librarian, Susan Lamarche, has designated a third of the library, as well as the library conference room, as a space for teachers to utilize during this period of displacement.
“Our teachers are so amazing. They bend over backwards to make sure this situation doesn’t affect student learning,” Ewald said. “We have amazing teachers that are super patient, flexible, and resilient.”
Students seem to agree with this sentiment. Young Kim, a senior in *Ms. Price’s AP Literature class, shared his thoughts on the temporary relocation to the library:
“Personally, I don’t think the class atmosphere has changed at all,” Kim said. “There’s no doubt that this problem has been handled to the best of its ability.”
The teachers are estimated to be back in their classrooms by Monday of next week.
*This article was edited as of Nov. 7 to correct the statement, “Young Kim, a senior in both Ms. Price’s AVID class and AP Literature class…” Kim is a student in Mrs. Rogers’ Senior Avid class. The Oracle recognizes the adjustment and error.