EDITOR'S NOTE-> The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the Standard-Times for publication in the September 6 issue. Unfortunately, because of a lack of space, not all letters submitted were printed.
To the Editor:
I’m writing this letter in regard to the recent articles about the health and safety issues at SMH Quidnessett Elementary School. As a teacher who works in that building, I am saddened by the conditions in which students are expected to learn. Constant roof leaks, signs of mold, poor air quality and dusty vents make for a challenging work environment. Although some changes and repairs have been made, my main concern is the lack of communication with faculty, parents, and staff and the length of time needed to make the repairs.
The roof has been leaking for years and mold has been found for several years as well. The most recent case of mold was found in the summer of 2011 which prompted air quality tests to be conducted. After these tests came back, recommendations were made to open windows to help reduce carbon dioxide, replace the carpets, clean the air vents and ducts, etc.
As the new school year begins, the air vents and ducts still haven’t been cleaned, some windows still can’t be opened (many rooms don’t even have windows), and the original carpets are still in place.
We have been told that the new carpets or flooring will have to wait until next summer because decisions must be made as to what type of flooring to purchase, which company will win the bid to do the job, and of course, the length of time needed to actually make the repairs. If these issues were known last summer (2011), then why weren’t steps begun during the 2011-2012 year so these repairs could have been completed this summer and the students and faculty could be starting the 2012-2013 year in a healthier environment?
Furthermore, many of the issues and test results were only discovered after several inquiries were made by teachers and parents of the school. Parents, faculty, and staff should be informed about what types of tests are being done before they are conducted instead of after the fact and they should be informed of the results as soon as they are known. We look forward to the day when SMHQES is returned to the safe learning environment it was in the past.
North Kingstown, RI