CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) - The family and doctor of a 6-year-old boy who spent three days at the hospital say mold at his elementary school may be to blame.
WAVY.com obtained a mold summary report at Chesapeake's Great Bridge Primary School by McKee Environmental which confirmed mold was found within the school building. Samples were sent to a lab and were returned with much higher levels of mold than expected. In the report, McKee Environmental states only a doctor can determine the "healthiness of an environment."
Six-year-old Landon Miller started feeling groggy Wednesday, his first day of first grade.
"He wasn't feeling well. He actually fell asleep on the bus," Landon's grandmother Ronna Thomas said. "While he was [at home] his breathing seemed rather labored, you could see his little ribs when he inhaled. We took him to a doctor who listened to his chest and said, 'Get him to the hospital right now.' The doctor said he was in respiratory distress."
Landon spent three days at the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters. Landon's doctor, Patrick Gerbus, wrote the following letter to the Chesapeake Schools System:
"Landon's ... wheezing correlated with his first two days of school in a class noted to have elevated Aspergillis mold levels. While there may be another trigger for his wheezing, this coincidence is concerning. Given the severity of his wheezing, I would recommend that he be placed in a different class setting, outside of this school wing, until an allergist's evaluation can take place."
Hayes Microbial Consulting found elevated levels of mold in Landon's classroom, number 18. Higher than outside air spore counts were also found in classrooms 16, 12, 34, 35, 33, 31 and 30.
"You send your child to school and you think they are in a place where they can learn and they are in a clean environment," Thomas said.
Chesapeake Schools were aware there was a mold problem because they hired McKee Environmental that determined the A/C window units were off during the summer and humidity was so great mold grew in several classrooms. Thomas says she is upset because parents were not made aware of the mold problem when school started.
"The only reason I know about this is my grandson got sick, otherwise we wouldn't know what the air quality was in there," Thomas said
Thomas said she is also upset that Great Bridge Principal Heather Martin has made no accommodations for Landon even after his doctor wrote the school to do so.
"[Martin] said she doesn't have time for this and told my daughter she is not pulling him out of the classroom," Thomas said.
When asked if he wanted to go back to school, Landon shook his head and said, 'No.'
"He shakes his head no because he doesn't want to go back in the hospital," Thomas said.
Chesapeake Schools spokesperson Tom Cupitt refused interviews with Martin and did not allow WAVY.com inside of Great Bridge. Cupitt gave no further comment aside from Tuesday's statement when he reiterated the mold has been cleaned up and mold experts say it is gone.
Cupitt did not provide follow-up lab analysis from McKee Environmental. McKee Environmental and the lab analysis company Hayes Microbial Consulting did not return WAVY.com's phone calls Wednesday.
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