Many parents report that their children initially became ill at school, or became sensitive to the school environment after a significant exposure at home. News reports of problematic schools have highlighted that the issue of mouldy schools seems common and difficult to address. As with any large institution, the ability to act quickly and the funds to act properly may be contributing factors. In addition, many schools have flat roofs, and other structural characteristics that make water damage more likely, and are left predominantly empty in the summer, making timely repairs of new problems less likely.
The problem of mouldy schools is made more challenging for families because not all children will be made ill in the school environment, and because more subtle symptoms in some children may not be considered related to the school environment at all. Teachers and parents do seem to be sharing their concerns to the media more often, and this may be leading to greater awareness.
However, until there is awareness that hypersensitive individuals require a higher standard of remediation, and may require accommodations, many families will struggle with the issue of accessing education for their children in buildings that are healthy enough for them to learn and thrive. Accommodations may be possible (transfer to a different classroom, transfer to a different school, remote learning), though for many families, homeschooling becomes a reasonable choice.
It seems a sizeable group of parents choose to homeschool their children in order to practice Mold Avoidance on the road or to solve the problem of finding an appropriate school for their mould-sensitive children. More resources related to this choice will be provided at Grace Under Water in the near future.
Canadians for a Safe Learning Environment (CASLE), 1992-2017. The now-defunct Canadian organization, CASLE, has a resource on mould and indoor air quality in schools. It may provide some information for parents seeking to address issues in their child’s school.
Healthy Schools Network, Inc. (2012). Molds at School. This six-page fact-sheet provides cited information regarding toxigenic moulds, and how to prevent, assess, and address mould problems in school.
National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (2002). Mold in My School: What can I do?. California Department of Health Services. This article provides steps and actions to take when mould or water damage is apparent in a school. It may be helpful for a parent to reference this article if action is not being taken by a school or board in the event of mould or water damage.