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Students At Two Junior High Schools Set To Return To Classrooms Closed For 13 Days

FREDERIKSTED — John Woodson and Arthur Richards Junior High schools will resume classes on Tuesday following the results of air samples collected at their shared Woodson campus indicating moderate and elevated levels of mold spores in limited areas of the campus.

Following the collection of 55 air samples by Adcon Environmental that were sent off island for testing last week, four locations on the campus were found to have elevated levels of mold and nine classrooms showed moderate levels, the V.I. Department of Education said.

Independent environmental hygienist company, Safety Solutions Consultants, Inc., conducted a thorough physical moisture survey of the Woodson campus on January 16, according to Education.

Arthur Richards Junior High School

Cleaning and extensive remediation efforts will take place on the campus before students and staff return, according to the department. A final inspection will be conducted following the remediation.

Acting Education Commissioner Dionne Wells-Hedrington said the test results give the schools a clear path forward.

“Now that we know for sure what and where the issues are on the Woodson campus, we are doing everything we can to correct those issues,” Wells-Hedrington said. “The safety and health of our students, faculty and staff are our priority. This team will continue to perform on-going risk assessments at the schools and the Department’s other facilities.”

District officials have scheduled informational meetings for staff of the two schools on Thursday, January 17 at the Ricardo Richards Elementary School Library. John H. Woodson staff will meet at 1 p.m. and Arthur A. Richards staff will meet at 2 p.m. Woodson and Arthur Richards students are asked to continue working through the educational packets they received.

Students and staff of Woodson and Arthur Richards were dismissed early on January 9 following complaints of an odor and skin irritations experienced in some areas of the campus.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

1 Comment

  1. Bill
    January 20, 2019 at 11:59 PM — Reply

    The file photo used in this article is woefully out of date. The scene depicted no longer exists thanks to Hurricane Marie. You need to update your file photo of Arthur Richards Jr. High.

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