Tests: Air quality OK in Vicksburg school

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

VICKSBURG, Mich. (WOOD) — Officials at a Vicksburg elementary school on Thursday released air quality test results for a particular room where two teachers fell ill.

“The air quality is fine,” Vicksburg Community Schools Superintendent Keevin O’Neill said during an afternoon press conference.

In 45 pages of test results (PDF), Ann Arbor-based Nova Environmental said it hadn’t found anything dangerous or harmful — no sign of mold, water damage, moisture, or carbon monoxide or dioxide problems.

“The illness of one of our staff members really generated the testing,” the superintendent said.

The teachers worked in the same classroom, room 410, at Sunset Lake Elementary during different school years. One got sick last school year. Then around December, one of the beginner kindergarten teachers got so sick that she had to be hospitalized.

“There was some concerns being expressed on social media that there was students becoming sick due to the environmental quality at Sunset Lake,” O’Neill said.

He said that school officials had not been notified of any such illnesses, but some parents said they believe their childrens’ sicknesses may be tied to room 410.

Alicia Trumps said three of her four children have had class in that room. All three, she said, have had sudden upper respiratory issues.

“Cough (and) upper respiratory infection. We actually had one of our children throw up for quite an extended period of time and it was pretty concerning for us as parents,” she told 24 Hour News 8.

The air quality testing is not over.

Trumps said she was feeling optimistic after attending a meeting for parents held by the school’s principal this week.

“I have complete faith in them. I have complete faith that if there is any kind of a health concern in this building, that we can fix it,” Trumps said.

>>PDF: District letter to parents

Trumps said that the district has always been quick to act when concerns arise in the community.

Parents and guardians can schedule an appointment with the district’s environmental consultant on March 25 between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. The district asks that people interested in an appointment call 269.321.1005.

The district is also forming an environmental safety committee and created an environmental safety section on its website to keep everyone informed and take suggestions.

“I’ve been in schools for 27 years,” O’Neill said. “Kids get sick. People get sick. When concerns are that a potentially is environmental conditions at a building, we take that very seriously.”

24 Hour News 8 asked why the testing was only one day and why there were not tests for bacteria. Vicksburg administrators said that the initial concerns were only about air quality.

Nova Environmental will soon notify the district of which tests it recommends conducting next.

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