The state will test the indoor air quality of Sippican School to find the source of what could be exacerbating the allergies of some teachers and possibly some students, as previously discussed by the Marion School Committee and Marion Teachers Association and Health and Safety Committee member Nicole Boussy on February 3.
Results of testing conducted by the school district’s Facilities Department in January reported air quality levels within the normal range; however, teachers insist further testing should be done.
During the March 2 meeting of the Marion School Committee, Facilities Director Gene Jones said a full air quality assessment has been scheduled for March 11. A team will arrive to take air quality samples throughout the school and the roof to test the ventilation system, as well as mold, mildew, and moisture levels, along with the presence of pests.
“And when they come through, they don’t [take a] break,” said Jones. “They just go through. There’s no lunch break, no coffee break … they’ll go through the entire school.”
Jones anticipates a two-week time period to receive a report on the state’s findings.
In other matters, Superintendent Doug White presented an updated draft of the 2016/2017 school year calendar, which shifts a few half-days around to address concerns over a long stretch of time from March through April vacation without a single break. The Good Friday school day on April 14, 2017, which falls on the last day of school before the spring break, remains unchanged.
“In looking at it, there’s three out of four school committees and four out of five buildings and the administration are all advocating for the 14th (Good Friday) off for a whole host of reasons,” said School Committee member Christine Winters. “There’s more an overwhelming consensus that it’s probably not the best day for education in the district … and I hope we can come together as a joint [school committee] … and there’s an open conversation about it.”
School Committee Chairman Christine Marcolini said she hopes the district could move past the Good Friday issue finally.
“I’m definitely in the camp of ‘I really wish that we could move on from spending a lot of time talking about Good Friday and I haven’t made any qualms about that,’” said Marcolini. “That being said, I think that there’s enough data from all the different stakeholders that the discussion does not need to be had again, whether we want to have it or not.”
School Committee member Michelle Ouellette said the fact that Good Friday falls on the day before vacation adds to the concern.
Committee member Kate Houdelette said, “I also think that once this is done, then we’re done. Next year, in two years it’s not going to fall before the vacation and we spend more time discussing this one day than the kids go to school.”
The next meeting of the Marion School Committee is scheduled for April 6 at 6:30 pm at the Marion Town House.
By Jean Perry