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Dare County schools cleared to reopen after closing over mold concerns

Last week, Dare County school officials called an emergency meeting last week to deal with mold custodians found in the schools.

KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. — Dare County's First Flight Elementary and Middle Schools are cleared to reopen after closing to deal with mold issues. 

Dare County school officials called an emergency meeting last week to deal with mold custodians found in the schools. 

Dare County Schools posted on Monday that "after extensive testing, air quality experts verified that First Flight Elementary and First Flight Middle campuses are both safe and mold-free."

After inspection, the two rooms that were not cleared stayed closed. They were overnight and retested in the morning, according to a news release. Because the common strain of mold found is isolated in the rooms, air quality experts cleared staff to safely return to both buildings. 

Dare County Schools Superintendent Stephen Basnight had said the mold could be found sporadically throughout the building.

"It was not everywhere, but it was on computer covers, tables, carpets, and furniture," said Basnight. "We want to be transparent about the process, and more than anything, we don't want the mold in the buildings."

School board members thought the mold may have spread throughout the schools because of an issue with the boilers. This coupled with hot temperatures and high humidity allowed the mold to thrive.

A spokesperson reaffirmed that "the boiler replacement project at both campuses, while necessary for the long-term functionality of the buildings, temporarily disrupted the control of humidity within the schools, leading to damp conditions and isolated instances of surface mold growth earlier this month."

Basnight said their team of custodians tried to take care of the problem on their own, but the mold returned.

"We came in and we tried to clean it -- that was last Thursday -- where we wiped everything down. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we saw some more come back and by Monday we were repeating the same process over and over again."

Dare County's Department of Health and Human Services visited both campuses last week to identify areas of concern. According to the release, they offered three suggestions: replacing a ceiling tile, cleaning ceiling returns in higher ceilings and monitoring rust on air vents. 

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