Yasmeen Khan is a reporter covering education. You can find her stories on the air and on SchoolBook.org, WNYC’s education website.
A group of parents and public officials want the city's Education Department to temporarily relocate a Williamsburg middle school after inspectors found mold in several classrooms. Education officials, however, say the building is safe.
Recent tests have shown hazardous levels of black mold in eight classrooms at M.S. 577 Conselyea Preparatory School. Seven of those classrooms tested positive for mold on Friday.
Education officials said the affected classrooms were thoroughly cleaned over the weekend and went through an air purification process. Inspectors then retested the school on Sunday and declared the building fit for classes.
But New York City Councilwoman Diana Reyna said dozens of students and teachers have suffered health complications from exposure to the mold, and she calls the education department's safety declaration "a false assurance."
“It is now fact that our children have been exposed to a mold-contaminated environment for at least two weeks," said Ms. Reyna, in a written statement. "It concerns me greatly that the D.O.E has not yet established a safe, alternative space for the students of M.S. 577, nor allowed for an independent assessment of both the mold contamination in the building and the subsequent clean-up."
The building that houses M.S. 577 also houses P.S. 17 Henry D. Woodworth, a pre-K through fifth grade school. Education officials said that school has not been affected by mold.
Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm is meeting with parents and students at M.S. 577 Monday night to address their concerns.