Workers are ripping out the bacteria-laden carpet in six classrooms at Mount Airy Elementary School this week and replacing it with vinyl tile that will be a less hospitable environment for germs.
The bacteria, acinetobacter and enterobacter, are present in animal feces and were probably tracked in on shoes, school officials believe.
The first- and second-grade section of the building is built on a concrete slab with no waterproof layer to keep out moisture that seeps up from the ground.
Vernon Smith, director of support services for the Carroll County school system, said that may account for why children in that part of the building reported throat and eye irritations.
A physician with the Maryland Department of the Environment, as well as staff from the Carroll County Health Department, have been working with the schools on the problem.
The schools also followed a recommendation from the department physician to remove mulch beds in front of the school that are near the windows, in case those were a source for the bacteria.
Also at the request of a group of parents, Mr. Smith wrote the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for assistance, although it is not clear whether the federal agency will be able to respond.