Deer Park school air vents fail test Officials say students can't go to class Monday

April 05, 1996|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

Students at troubled Deer Park Elementary School will not return to classes Monday after tests revealed problems with the school's ventilation and heating systems, Baltimore County officials said last night.

County officials met with parents last night to release the findings of air and water quality tests conducted at the Randallstown school.

Dr. Shirin DeSilva, an occupational and environmental specialist who headed the team of researchers, said the study showed a lack of proper ventilation, problems with temperature and humidity controls, evidence of water leakage in many of the heat pumps, residual amounts of ethylene glycol in the heating system water and damaged tiles and carpeting.

Results from tests that should conclusively show if bacteria and contaminants are in the building will not be available until next week, Dr. DeSilva said.

Last night, Dr. DeSilva, George Perdikakis, director of the county's Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management, County Health Officer Dr. Michelle Leverett, Northwest Area Superintendent Patsy J. Holmes and representatives from ATEC Associates Inc., which conducted the tests, fielded questions from parents anxious to learn if Deer Park Elementary was safe.

Deer Park was closed March 27 after parents pulled their children from school and demanded indoor air quality tests to determine if the leak of ethylene glycol, an antifreeze, from the heating system was making students and teachers ill.

Parents complained last night that the tests were not conducted with the school operating as on a normal school day and would not yield the same results that they say have caused students to complain of respiratory problems, nosebleeds and headaches. They also said they wanted portable classrooms for the students and rejected Ms. Holmes' suggestion that students be sent to Deer Park Middle School and Hernwood Elementary while further testing is done.

"The immediate issue is what is going to be done to provide a safe atmosphere where the children can be educated and that question was not answered," parent Mark Shienderman said.

Ms. Holmes, the area superintendent, said it would take at least 12 weeks to set up portable classrooms and promised parents she would request that school Superintendent Anthony G. Marchione meet with them at 6 p.m. Monday to discuss a contingency plan under which students can continue classes.

County officials who were at last night's meeting also will meet with parents at 6 p.m. Monday to hear their concerns.

Students will not return to classes until April 15, Ms. Holmes said.

Pub Date: 4/05/96

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