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Health Updates
  • Lakewood Elementary Update - Report Results (General Statement)

    Posted by Dallas ISD News & Information at 3/11/2016

    Dear Lakewood Staff and Community,

    Thank you for your continued attention to the health concerns at Lakewood Elementary School. In recent weeks, we have communicated with you about various environmental and building testing performed as a result of those concerns.

    This is an update on the findings we received from our third-party vendor of the testing performed at our campus.

    After a review all environmental tests were found normal.

    Our preventative steps included:

    • Testing, out of an abundance of caution, the air quality at the campus. The results came back normal.
    • Testing, out of an abundance of caution, the water quality at the campus to ensure it confirms normal drinking water standards. The results came back normal.
    • Testing, out of an abundance of caution, thermal temperature levels to ensure comfort parameters were maintained. The results came back normal.
    • Testing, out of an abundance of caution, ozone concentration levels. The results came back normal.
    • Testing, out of an abundance of caution, radon emission. The results came back normal.

    The Dallas ISD facilities management team continues to monitor these areas, and after this thorough review we may rule out these as potential factors to some of the health concerns raised. 

    A copy of the report may be obtained through an Open Records Request. For more information on that process, visit www.dallasisd.org/openrecords.

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  • Complete Findings - Cotton Service Center Water Quality Review

    Posted by Dallas ISD NEws & Information at 3/11/2016

    UPDATED: 3:05 P.M., March 11

    The Dallas Independent School District is releasing the executive summary and listing of findings from EFI Global on water quality at William H. Cotton Service Center.

    To view the complete water quality report - click here

    To view the executive summary - click here

    To view the list of findings - click here

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  • Cotton Service Center Q&A

    Posted by Dallas ISD News and Information at 3/11/2016

    The following are responses to questions regarding water quality at the Cotton Service Center. Please check back frequently as additional responses are posted.

    UPDATED - 2:15 P.M. ON MARCH 23

     

    Question: The report says contaminates were above recommended, but not above action level. Or, contaminates were above action level. It does not say what levels were found. No information was available at the meeting about what dangers these present, and these vague descriptions aren't useful in attempting to research the danger level.

    Answer: The findings of the report are available on the Health Updates blog in a separate posting or at www.dallasisd.org/healthupdates.

     

    Question: Is there a timeline for additional testing for air quality, mold or other potential influences at the Cotton building?

    Answer: An air quality test is planned in the near future.

     

    Question: What if I feel ill and believe the cause is the environment at the Cotton building?

    Answer: Please contact the Dallas ISD Risk Management Department if you believe you've have been injured on the job or have become ill because of your workplace.

     

    Question: The free blood test only includes test code 007625 which is 'Lead, Whole Blood (Adult)'. The Executive Summary indicates arsenic (7 of 8 samples) were present along with lead, why aren't staff members being tested for arsenic, test code ASB, as well as lead testing?

    Answer: The free blood screenings will only test for lead. At this time, it is recommended that any employee that desires a more through blood screening should contact their personal physician.

     

     

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  • Cotton Service Center Update - 3/8/2016

    Posted by Dallas ISD News & Information at 3/8/2016

    In late January 2016, Dallas ISD requested EFI Global, an environmental health and safety firm, to conduct water testing of the William H. Cotton Building and site. The request was made after learning that the building’s water had never been tested.

    On Monday, March 7, the district received the findings of the report and it was concluded that some of the water sources at the Cotton Building are non-potable.  

    After reviewing the findings, out of an abundance of caution, the district is making plans to relocate employees out of the Cotton Building and move them to different facilities upon their return from spring break.

    Bottled drinking water and other water sources will be provided for all employees and the water to all drinking fountains, ice machines and lavatory sinks will be turned off.

    The Cotton Building serves as a work location for several hundred employees, many of whom are dispatched to campuses, including Custodial, Maintenance, Environmental, HVAC, Real Estate, Operation Business Services, Warehouse and Transportation employees. 

    As always, the safety of our employees is a top priority of the district.

    We will continue to provide updates as they become available.

    Comments (-1)
  • Lakewood Elementary update - Feb. 26, 2016

    Posted by Dallas ISD News & Information at 2/26/2016

    As we conclude the school week, we want to provide you another update on our progress addressing the health concerns at Lakewood Elementary.

    • ATMOS visited our school and a leak survey was performed in the area adjacent to Lakewood Elementary which included a bar test of the school’s service line.  The results of this survey found no indications of leaks.
    • Continued monitoring of carbon monoxide levels has not yielded any abnormal readings. The report on environmental data will not be generated and ready before the latter part of next week.
    • The HVAC system was repaired and is fully operational.
    Comments (-1)
  • Lakewood Elementary update - 2/25/2016

    Posted by Dallas ISD News & Information at 2/25/2016
    Thank you for your continued attention to the health concerns at Lakewood Elementary. This is an update on our progress.
     
    • Dallas ISD has posted additional responses to your questions on its Health Updates webpage - www.dallasisd.org/healthupdates.
    • A staff member while supervising recess was hit in the knee by a ball. The teacher decided not return to work.
    • We are awaiting results from both the review by ATMOS regarding potential gas-related issues and a test of the water quality at the school.
    • Daily disinfecting is a part of the standard cleaning procedures in our building. We have a third party that will follow the cleaning process tonight to verify their effectiveness.
    • We continue to support students and staff that have health concerns. If your student has been to the doctor please share that information with us so that we can stay updated on their progress.
     
    Thank you for your continued patience as we act in the best interests of children.
     
    Comments (-1)
  • Zumwalt Middle School update - 2/25/2016

    Posted by Dallas ISD News & Information at 2/25/2016

    UPDATED - 10:03 A.M., FEB. 26

    As part of our continued partnership, we want to update you about a recent health-related concern at Sarah Zumwalt Middle School.

    Recently, we have begun to address isolated cases of mold identified in one office and three classrooms this week. We immediately placed students and staff members from those areas in other classrooms. We are working with the district’s maintenance and nursing teams to begin resolving this event. Out of an abundance of caution, we will take the following preventative steps to keep students and staff members safe:

     

    • Testing of the school for other potential cases of mold has begun. The results will be available next week. We will also follow state-approved procedures to remove the present mold as soon as possible.
    • Protecting students and staff by isolating any area with mold and performing an intensive daily cleaning of other areas.
    • Encouraging any student or staff member with a health concern to visit our nurse. A nurse has been added to the Zumwalt team and will be supported by the Dallas ISD Health Services staff. We also will encourage teachers to monitor student health; we encourage you to share health concerns with our office or your personal physician. 
    • Working to complete repairs of areas where water has entered the building, as well as draining areas of standing water near the portables. Those repairs will be completed as soon as possible.

    We will provide a brief update on Friday, Feb. 26, from 5 to 5:30 p.m., at the school. At that time, you will be able to submit questions via comment card and we will briefly answer general questions on this webpage.

    Comments (-1)
  • Lakewood Elementary update - Feb. 24, 2016

    Posted by Dallas ISD News & Information at 2/24/2016

    We want to provide an update on the response to health concerns at Lakewood Elementary.

    ** Dallas ISD began posting responses to your questions on its Health Updates webpage - www.dallasisd.org.

    **The Food and Child Nutrition Services department reviewed food service at the school and determined that all food is being prepared and served appropriately.

    **The district's facilities staff will have water at the school tested to ensure that its quality is in line with normal drinking water. The results of those tests will be shared on the Health Updates webpage. They will also check the air filters at the school to ensure they are in appropriate condition.

    **The district will contact the gas company to check for any potential gas-related issues on campus.

    ***Representatives from ATMOS were contacted earlier today. They are scheduling a test for this week.

    Comments (-1)
  • Lakewood Elementary health Q&A

    Posted by Dallas ISD News & Information at 2/24/2016

    The following are responses to questions regarding health concerns at Lakewood Elementary School. Please check back frequently as additional responses are posted.

     

    UPDATED - 11:53 A.M. ON FEB. 26

     

    Question: Are there bats living at the school? Could there be bat feces on the roof or in chimney that could be causing histoplasmosis?

    Answer: Presently there is no evidence of bats at Lakewood Elementary.

     

    Question: Will the school be cleaned and disinfected more thoroughly this week if it is a virus?

    Answer: The custodial service staff will continue to clean the school throughly. Additional steps will be taken as needed and appropriate.

     

    Question: Will all air filters be changed if needed and ducts vacuumed or cleaned? The auditorium vents were filthy at the meeting tonight and I'm sure many others are too. If help is needed, please let parent community know. 

    Answer: Dallas ISD is scheduling the grates to be cleaned and the air filters to be changed.   

     

    Question: When specifically will ATMOS be coming to Lakewood Elementary to do further testing on both soil and air for natural gas leaks?

    Answer: Representatives from ATMOS were contacted on Feb. 24. They are scheduling a test this week.

     

    Question: When will the Health Department be on site to investigate any potential health concerns in cafeteria food that our children are ingesting, or possibly in the food prep process?

    Answer: The Lakewood kitchen was visited on Feb. 23 by the Dallas ISD Lead Area Cafeteria Supervisor just after meal service. All temperature logs were up to date and the kitchen was in order. We have not had reports of symptoms that would indicate food borne illness from the school nurse or Health Services. The cafeterias are inspected by the City of Dallas twice a year. NEW: Health inspections are required twice a year.  The last one was done Nov.9, 2015 with a satisfactory score. The Area Lead visited Lakewood ES on Thursday to see that areas sited were addressed with staff or corrected by Lunchroom Equipment team.

     

    Question: It is my understanding from speaking with an Environmental expert, that testing for mold and black mold involves further sampling and lab work beyond testing for normal VOC's. When will this extensive testing take place at Lakewood Elementary, so we can rule this out as a potential factor? 

    Answer: Dallas ISD performed an indoor air quality test at Lakewood on Feb. 10, and the results were nill for mold. On Feb. 25, a third-party vendor will begin collecting additional samples as part of another testing effort. Should there be something present, we will abate it.

     

    Question: Will the results of the testing at the facility be made available to parents for review, including readings on carbon monoxide, mold and various other organic compounds mentioned in previous communications?

    Answer: Specific data for related to those topics may be obtained through an Open Records Requests. For information on that process, please click here.

     

    Question: I spoke with an Environmental company this morning, upon recommendation from Heather Guild at The Guild Group, called Culley Enviro -http://www.bculleymold.com. I called to ask some very general questions about our children’s range of symptoms and if there could possibly be a correlation with mold/black mold. I spoke with Theresa who was very knowledgable, and if you need to use them as a resource, she believes they are likely on the DISD vendor list and is happy to set up a visit. She also gave me a cell number for Bob who owns the company (number redacted). They can come in and do extensive testing for mold and take lab samples — a process which would not likely show up on a general air quality test. I also thought of a few other things to consider as potential sources: asbestos, lead, water system, food (maybe something in the prep process in the cafeteria?). I’m wondering if there could be a connection with all of the recent reports to Atmos lately about natural gas smells, etc. One parent reported they had a wall explode in their home due to an undetectable natural gas leak. Hopefully natural gas of any kind would register in an air quality test, but I don’t know enough about that to be certain. Dorcy mentioned you are turning over every stone, and for that - we all THANK YOU - from the bottom of our hearts. We look forward to a positive Community Meeting tonight, where we can focus more on the future developments at the school than this current issue (although I’m sure there will be questions nonetheless).

    Answer: We have retained reputable, qualified, and reliable consulting services through Terracon, and at present do not have the need for additional consulting firms. Asbestos and lead do not induce symptoms that are being reported at the campus.  We are testing water against specific constituents to confirm its potable nature.  Food and Nutrition is performing due diligence with regard to food supply.  The current scope for air testing does not include natural gas (i.e., methane), but does include some elements in a gas state (i.e., oxygen, carbon monoxide, etc.).

     

    Question: You want to rule out carbon monoxide, but had the buildings VOCs levels been checked?? Has there been a change in cleaning products used by janitors? Has the building been sprayed recently with pesticides? Has it been checked for lead, radon, styrene, etc?

    Answer: The building’s VOC concentration has been checked in previous visits and is part of the data set that is currently being logged. 

     

    Question: Please explain what the standard for Texas is in regard to temperature highs and lows in the classroom, based on what is considered normal and abnormal -- and how does these temperatures compare to readings found at Lakewood in the past few weeks?  

    Answer: The existing system does not have the capability to measure the temperature and humidity in individual classrooms.  However, the most recent data logged shows the temperature and humidity to be within the acceptable range. Indoor air temperature and relative humidity are physical conditions important to the perception of comfort. ASHRAE has published recommendations regarding thermal comfort. ASHRAE Standard 55-2010, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy, identifies six primary factors that affect comfort: metabolic rate (affected by the activity being performed), clothing insulation, air temperature, radiant temperature, air speed, and humidity. Although the relationships are complex, a temperature range between 73 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) with relative humidity between roughly 20 and 60 percent (%) are recommended for persons performing “office” work and wearing light summer clothing. Higher temperatures require lower humidity for comfort. For persons in winter clothing, temperatures can range between 68 and 75 °F, with relative humidity between 30 % and 60 %. Relative humidity should not exceed 60 % for extended periods or microbial growth could occur on surfaces that are at dew point temperature and condensate moisture forms. 

     

    Question: It is my understanding from speaking with an Environmental expert, that testing for mold and black mold involves further sampling and lab work beyond testing for normal VOC's. When will this extensive testing take place at Lakewood Elementary, so we can rule this out as a potential factor?

    Answer:  Over the course of the last year, there have been multiple assessment of the indoor air quality (IAQ) at Lakewood Elementary School.  All reports indicate acceptable indoor conditions with regard to mold/fungal presence.

     

    Question: Please explain everything that is included in testing for VOC's 

    Answer:  Total volatile organic compounds (TVOC’s) are organic chemical compounds whose composition makes it possible for them to evaporate under normal indoor atmospheric conditions of temperature and pressure. This is a broad category of chemical compounds that includes components of many common products found in the workplace and non-workplace environments such as cosmetics, personal care products, household cleaning products, vehicle emissions, furniture and electronics off gassing, solvents, paints, and lacquers. Chemical pollutants such as TVOC’s may have deleterious effects an indoor air quality. Many individual volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) have been regulated by OSHA or other governmental bodies in the industrial workplace, and Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL’s) for 8-hour time weighted average (TWA) exposures have been established. Typically, individual VOC’s in the indoor environment are well below the OEL’s but combinations of low concentrations of VOC’s may have synergistic effects resulting in building occupant complaints. Indoor air quality research related to TVOC’s suggests that when the TVOC concentration approaches 3,000 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) of air or approximately 1.7 part per million (ppm, based on molecular weight of propane) indoors, there can be noticeable odors or potential occupant discomfort. For comparison purposes, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program has recently established a maximum concentration for TVOC at 500 μg/m3 or approximately 0.3 ppm (as propane), for new buildings seeking an Indoor Environmental Quality certification. We used GrayWolf IAQ monitor; last calibrated December 2015.  The equipment logs the concentration of VOC.

     

    Question: I have two children that attend Lakewood Elementary. I would like to know the update on if and when the air/heating unit has been fixed at the school. I would also like the carbon monoxide levels that where measured. One of my children has been complaining on and off for the past three weeks about headaches. Yesterday, she complained of a stomach ache.

    Answer: Repairs were made to the cooling tower on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 and the HVAC system was returned to full operation.  The carbon monoxide levels continue to register at 0 ppm. 

    Question/statement from the district: A parent  observed that cold air was blowing out of a return air vent in room 115. Dallas ISD personnel confirmed this condition.

    Answer:  DISD technicians found a defective relay on the fan cool unit inside the room. The relay had motor in fan powered box off, therefore, the air from the air handler was hitting the damper and being forced through return side.  The technician replaced the relay and checked all controls in this room.  The system is now functioning as it should.

     

    Information from Dallas ISD

    Answer: During the meeting, I spoke about the gas testing process and indicated that we would provide information on the requirements and the last time we tested the overall system.  Attached is the test results form for the state-mandated gas tests that plumbing services performed on June 30, 2014. School facilities are required to pressure test their natural gas piping at least once every two years in accordance with Chapter 121.5005-121.507 of the Texas Utilities Code. During the course of the last two years, plumbing services has had opportunity to test all or parts of the existing gas system during repairs or when the gas meter was turned off by Atmos in response to gas odor complaints. On Nov. 16, 2015, plumbing services repaired a leak on a gas line on the roof. After the repair was completed, the gas system was tested before it was put back into service. (WO# 512003). A search of all plumbing work orders for Lakewood from the completion of the last state-mandated test on June 30, 2014 reveals that 3 work orders were entered into the system regarding gas system inspections or repairs.  Those 3 all occurred during the time that the boiler ventilation malfunctioned (carbon monoxide incident) around the time frame of March and April 2015.(WO #444500, 449410, 453712)

     

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  • Lakewood Elemementary update - 2/23/2016

    Posted by Dallas ISD News & Information at 2/23/2016

    As part of our continued partnership, we want to update you about recent health-related concerns here at Lakewood Elementary School.

     

    With the completion of environmental monitoring Monday, three additional nurses allocated to the campus continue to keep a close eye on the health of students and staff. At the same time, members of the Dallas ISD facilities management team are reviewing any other potential factors that are contributing to health concerns here on campus. Our preventative steps include:

     

    • Encouraging any student or staff member with a health concern to visit with our nursing team. Several students have visited the nurse, and most of them have returned to classes today. CLARIFICATION: In addition, one of our teachers fainted Monday afternoon; she did not return to work for the remainder of the day.

     

    • Completing repairs of a heating and cooling issue that has resulted in slightly warmer than normal temperatures in the building. Those repairs should be complete by the  end of the week, weather permitting. In the meantime, we encourage both students and staff to dress appropriately (lighter shirts, etc.) and to be sure to drink plenty of water. The district will also provide spot coolers and open windows throughout the building as needed to ensure the temperature is appropriate.

     

    • Testing, out of an abundance of caution, the water quality at the campus to ensure it confirms to normal drinking water standards.

     

    Both the Lakewood Elementary team and Dallas ISD are committed to maintaining a healthy environment, and to keeping you informed about developments.

     

    We will provide a brief update Tuesday, Feb. 23, from 6 to 6:15 p.m., prior to the meeting about building improvements. At that time, you will be able to submit questions via comment card and we will briefly answer general questions. If we are unable to answer a question in the allotted time, answers will be posted on this blog. You may submit questions by clicking here.

     

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