WPS Facilities Update
This spring, the Wakefield Public Schools as part of a scheduled maintenance plan, completed environmental testing in two school buildings with the remaining buildings to be tested in the 2019-2020 school-year. The environmental testing includes indoor air quality (IAQ) and testing for the presence of microbial growth. The air quality testing was done by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and the microbial growth testing was done by Enviro-Safe Engineering. The purpose of the testing is to ensure a safe teaching and learning environment for all and to receive feedback and recommendations on our maintenance practices.
We started testing at Wakefield Memorial High School (WMHS) and Greenwood Elementary in April and May. The indoor air quality testing consists of carbon dioxide, temperature, relative humidity, carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter. While we are still awaiting the IAQ report for the Greenwood School, the indoor air quality test results at WMHS indicated that the air quality is safe for occupants.
WMHS carbon dioxide levels ranged from 411 PPM to 1,517 PPM. While the recommended level of carbon dioxide is 800 PPM or below, all results are within acceptable levels. The recommendation of MDPH is to increase fresh air in these spaces to decrease carbon dioxide levels. In order to remedy inadequate air exchange in rooms with results above 800 PPM, the recommendations from (MDPH) are to ensure that ventilation systems are on and running, filters are cleaned, and that air flow is not obstructed. This includes roof-top and classroom ventilation units.
The environmental study conducted by Enviro-Safe Engineering checked for the presence of microbial growth. The report states that the tested areas are within normal limits at each school. To maintain our safe levels, Enviro-Safe Engineering recommended that certain ceiling vents be disinfected and cleaned and for ceiling tiles to be replaced as needed.
Both reports indicated concern with the ventilation in the photography darkroom at WMHS. The facilities department and DPW are working to address the ventilation in that area.
As moisture and poor ventilation has the potential to affect air quality, the Facilities Department, in conjunction with the DPW, consistently monitors all buildings to address roof leaks as they occur and will be reviewing each classroom’s air exchange.
Both tests at WMHS provided recommendations on how to ensure safe building air quality and microbial growth levels. It is important to know the overall health of WMHS’s environment is suitable for teaching and learning. The recommendations suggested from both MDPH and Enviro-Safe Engineering are being implemented and will become part of WPS’s standard protocols.
For any questions about the testing and results, please contact Bob Schiaroli, Facilities Director.
Below are the links to both WMHS reports.