News Release: Hamilton, Bermuda, Monday, March 25, 2019 – In response to concerns about mold from staff and students at the TN Tatem Middle School, the Department of Education can now report that an environmental and air quality assessment was carried out at the school on February 19, 2019. The findings of this assessment, which was conducted by an independent assessor, substantiated the findings outlined in the Health & Safety Inspection report for the school completed in October 2018.
The results of the assessment submitted to the Department of Education identified that the root cause of current and past problems with mold and indoor air quality are based on inadequate general and routine maintenance. These include water leaks, inoperable windows, inappropriate storage, an accumulation of waste, inadequate housekeeping and improper mechanical systems (for example, exhaust fans and the use of split system air-conditioners which only circulate existing air inside the classroom space).
Water leaks and mechanical systems will be addressed in the months to come. The report indicated that it will be important for staff to intentionally open windows for 30 to 60 minutes each day. Old papers, cardboard boxes and other outdated items no longer in use must be discarded and staff must ensure that items are stored appropriately. These actions, along with routine and regular cleaning of rooms, cupboards and cabinet drawers will also play a major role in preventing mold and indoor air quality issues. We can confirm that the TN Tatem Safety and Health Committee, along with staff at the school, have already begun to take action to rectify health and safety matters that fall under their purview.
We can also confirm that work commenced at TN Tatem upon receipt of the concerns on February 5, 2019. A science room which had been closed since the start of the 2018-2019 school year has had a major overhaul and the repairs are now complete. The source of the water intrusion in this room was a historic air conditioner condensate line which was defective. All damaged drywall has been replaced with a moisture guard, mold resistant drywall and the walls have been repainted to match the existing paint. All cabinetry and bulletin boards have also been reinstalled. This room also received a thorough cleaning by the custodial staff and the room was retested on March 20, 2018 with results due this week. The room adjoining the science room in question had its drywall replaced as well on 16th and 17th, March 2019.
The Department of Education remains committed to addressing the general maintenance concerns at TN Tatem to ensure the safety of students and staff.