PFT President Jerry Jordan on Urgent Mold Issue at Frankford High School, District's Refusal to Allow Access to Evaluate

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SEPTEMBER 17, 2021

After PFTHW director of environmental science Jerry Roseman was denied access to Frankford High School to evaluate an urgent mold growth situation, which PFT brought to the District's attention, PFT President Jerry Jordan issued the following statement:

PHILADELPHIA—"On Wednesday morning (9/15), a PFT member submitted an urgent mold growth issue to the PFT Health and Welfare Healthy Schools Tracker App. The submission, which includes the photos above, is accompanied by comments that 'there is mold growth everywhere,' 'there is no running HVAC system,' and 'it smells all the time.' Upon receiving this report, the PFT immediately flagged this issue as 'immediate,' meaning that it was urgent in nature and required immediate action.

"Because the District has been reluctant and lax in responding to the issues reported on the app, PFTHW Director of Environmental Science Jerry Roseman followed up with correspondence to District officials that afternoon, writing in part:
 
"'I have seen this kind of condition several times before and it is very likely that the mold growth may be more extensive and well beyond what is pictured in the app report.  This situation requires an urgent, systematic and comprehensive response and evaluation.  The first step should be restricting all access to the room and installing dehumidification (right now) followed by, or at the same time as, inspection work get started.  If the situation is left alone today and tomorrow (off day for Yom Kippur), on a much larger mold problem may be present by Friday. I’d like to arrange for us to work together in a joint and collaborative fashion in responding to the mold situation at Frankford HS,' and followed up with a series of recommendations.
 
"This correspondence received no response. Jerry Roseman subsequently followed up with two more attempts, as recently as this morning, to communicate with the District on this urgent and unsafe situation. 
 
"Lacking any communication, or any indication on the Healthy Schools Tracker app that the District had acknowledged this problem, Jerry Roseman reported to Frankford High School this morning. School visits and inspections are a regular part of his work, and one of the essential ways that we are able to push for honest and transparent sharing of information.
 
"Despite learning that District officials were onsite and examining the area, Jerry Roseman was not only denied access to the building beyond the main office, he was escorted off the premises. This is shocking and begs the question: what is the District hiding? The District's continued refusal to collaborate so that we can collectively advocate for the healthy schools our students and staff deserve is not only discouraging, it is also dangerous.
 
"At 9AM this morning on the Healthy Schools Tracker App, and in a follow up e-mail at 9:45AM, the District reported that a 'work order' has been created and environmental was 'on site' on 9/15/21. We do not know the extent of the damage or of the proposed work. This is unacceptable. If it were not for the reporting from our member and our swift response, this situation would have been left to further deteriorate. And yet our expertise and collaboration were, as they often are, denied in developing an appropriate response plan. 
 
"I am disgusted by the District's refusal to allow Jerry Roseman access to evaluate this crisis, and I am deeply concerned for what implications that has for how the mold emergency at Frankford is addressed. 
 
"It is stunning and disheartening that the District continues to tell us, and more importantly tell students and parents, 'trust us' and yet response to situations such as the one at Frankford with an open contempt for those who are working day in and day out to ensure that the students and staff have healthy environments in which to learn and work.
 
"The District owes it to the community to make serious changes in their facilities operations. We outlined a series of recommendations in our May report, and we are once again calling for their implementation. The District continued inaction on massive infrastructure issues and their continued platitudes are shameful, and the leadership team must be held to account."

  

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