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Fungus closes another PHS class

PRESCOTT – As a precaution, Prescott High School Principal Tim Carter closed off another classroom Monday because of stachybotrys and ordered abatement, which should take from one to three weeks.

In October, the school found the same fungus in the Vocational Building, the weight room and in Science Department storage areas. As a precaution, Carter at that time closed affected spaces and temporarily relocated students elsewhere on campus.

"All of those areas, except one, have been cleaned and have received clear air verification and are no longer considered 'regulated areas'," Carter said Tuesday.

One stubborn spot, though, is inside sheetrock on the wall behind a cabinet in Room 309, where Ron Hanson teaches science classes. Southwest Hazard Control will remove and replace the contaminated wallboard. Western Technologies will provide the environmental consultation and monitoring.

Meanwhile, Hanson's classes have moved to Rooms 506, 303 and 513 during usual vacant periods. They will resume in Room 309 after tests prove that the air is clean.

Stachybotrys thrives on water-damaged cellulose in the sheetrock, wallpaper and insulation backing materials of buildings. There have been no reports of respiratory ailments from teachers or students using affected areas at the school, Carter said.

Elsewhere around the country, inhaling airborne stachybotrys in highly concentrated amounts has led to illness or even death in babies or the elderly. That particular fungus also closed Yuma High School and buildings at various other Arizona schools while cleanups were under way.

For more information, call Carter at 445-2322.

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