Mother wants mold testing at Surry County schools

SURRY COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – A mother called 10 On Your Side, worried about her children’s health and the possibility of mold inside Surry County schools.

“It’s a major concern, and we just want to have it tested, so that we can make sure that that’s not the problem,” Felicia Bailey said.

Bailey took pictures inside Surry County High School Thursday. She thinks they show mold.

Photos: Surry County Schools

“With all the viruses and things that are spreading this year, we need to weed out any other possibility,” Bailey said.

Picture from inside Surry County High School (WAVY/Brandi Cummings)
Picture from inside Surry County High School (Photo courtesy Felicia Bailey)

She said her children have developed allergies, since attending Surry County schools. Her daughter, who is in sixth grade, attends Luther Porter Jackson Middle. Her son, now 19-years-old, graduated from Surry County High School, which was built in 1975 and renovated in 1982.

While there, Bailey said of her son, “He was still having skin problems, sniffling of the nose, [and] headaches, periodically.”

“So, with the two of them combined, my son and my daughter having these issues the last couple years, it made me stop and ask the school system and the doctors, is it possible that it’s something that’s going on at the school?” Bailey said.

WAVY News went to the Surry County School Board, trying to get those answers. We wanted to talk to Superintendent Lloyd Hamlin, but he wouldn’t talk to 10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings. Over the phone, he did say he is not aware of any mold in the schools, but he is aware of the water spots in Bailey’s pictures. He told her they come from condensation inside, not outside.

In September, Felicia Bailey sent a letter to Surry County Schools, asking for a copy of any mold inspections. She got a letter in return from Mr. Hamlin saying he had not found any mold studies done on the schools, so there were no reports to give her.

Document: Lloyd Hamlin’s letter to Bailey

WAVY.com took Mrs. Bailey’s concerns to Floyd Gibbs, owner of Quality Home Inspections.

“Just from the pictures, there has been water influx into the building, whether it’s from a roof leak, HVAC or a water pipe,” he said. “The black is there because of a water leak.”

Gibbs said there is mold everywhere, but not all of it makes people sick.

“The best way to check is going to be an air quality sample test, and that’s where you take a sample of the outside air and a sample of the inside air, send it to a laboratory and the laboratory will actually grow the species on a dish, and then they will tell you exactly what the elevations are outside reference the inside,” Gibbs said.

“If we find out that it’s not, that’s a good thing, but if we do find out that it is, something definitely needs to be done. If this is the problem, we just want it fixed,” Bailey said.

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