Holland Language Academy closes due to mold spores

Ottawa County

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Some students in Holland will be going to a different school after mold was found in the building.

On Thursday, Holland Public Schools announced it had concerns of mold in three buildings, including Holland Language Academy that serves Spanish-speaking students.  

“We were notified by our cleaning crew that there were some air quality issues. We immediately got a company in to do some air quality testing and they found some [mold] spore colonization,” said Karen Sherwood, Holland’s deputy superintendent.

Sherwood says visitors can’t see the issue with the naked eye. But it can still be harmful, so officials don’t want anyone in the building. 

The district says it happened this summer when the building had a system breakdown, which prevented the AC unit from working. That was coupled with 90-degree temperatures that caused excess humidity in the building.

 Officials say that caused mold spores to develop.

The district decided to test all their buildings following the discovery. They found mold in Holland Heights Elementary School and the Maplewood Facility, which isn’t regularly used. 

“We found some isolated spots in the other buildings: One storage closet, a few classrooms and storage rooms in Maplewood,” Sherwood said. 

With two weeks before the school year starts, the district decided to close the Holland Language Academy and immediately start mold removal processes in the other two buildings.

HLA students will now be provided with shuttles to go to school a few blocks away at Longfellow.

Holland Heights students will stay put because the building will be cleaned before the start of the school year.

The district plans to start the remediation process to remove the spores at HLA soon.

Officials say there is no word on how long it will take, so the building could be closed for the entire school year. 

“We don’t want parents to be concerned. We’re doing everything possible to keep kids safe and to keep staff and parents safe if they enter the building,” Sherwood said. 

Sherwood says they don’t regularly test for mold because the state does not require it. 

But given the current situation, they may put a procedure in place. 

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