Two new developments in the saga of the construction fumes at Bloomfield High School, where students have been evacuated from certain classrooms on a regular basis.
Trevor Weigle, director health of human services for Bloomfield, has sent a letter to schools superintendent Thomas Dowd, asking that the school district to stop whatever it is that’s causing the fumes.
As you are aware the Health Department has recently responded to several indoor air quality complaints at the high school due to current construction activities. The source of these complaints is exhaust from gas and/or diesel powered equipment and vehicles migrating into classrooms. Exhaust fumes can cause those exposed to show symptoms of lethargy, fatigue, nausea and can exacerbate the symptoms of those who suffer from allergies and asthma. The Health Department recommends that all activity that may result in exhaust or other contaminants migrating into the building cease until measures are adopted to prevent such migration.
“I’m not telling them to shut the whole job down,” said Weigle, who dated the letter Jan. 5. “I can’t recommend how they remedy the situation, I’m only saying they should.”
At risk of sounding like the Passover Hagaddah, we have another interpretation from Ginny Cocchi, the parent who’s been championing the cause: “It means, until you get it right, stop.”
Then on Friday, parents finally received their first backpack notice from the schools about the fumes.
CONSTRUCTION UP-DATE FUMES AT BLOOMFIELD HIGH SCHOOL
Over the last few weeks some rooms on the Belleville Avenue side of the building were relocated due to odors or fumes. Most of the occurrences were isolated incidents, which the construction company stopped immediately. The problem was with equipment used to load the material into the building, gas powere saws, fire proofing materials, etc.
When these incidents occurred, the teachers were directed to move the students to the Media center or auditorium. The Health Department was called and the rooms were cleared out. In some cases the students were allowed back into the rooms; some not until the next day.
The Engineers, Contractors, and Health Department have been working diligently to resolve the problems as quickly as possible.
Please refer to channel 34 BETV (Bloomfield Educational TV) for the schedule for the “SUPERINTENDENT FORMUM” [sic] now airing, dealing with this issue.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005, at the Board of Education meeting, this issue will also be discussed.
Please know that we are trying to do everything posible to alleviate the problems. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you posted.
Cocchi was particularly tickled by the typo, “Formum,” which worked its way into the notice — as, until recently, the schools had been mum on the issue. Freudian slip?