Mother says daughter’s asthma worsened after mold discovered in school

ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. — A mother said she is questioning how officials are handling mold problems in the HVAC system at West Rowan Middle School where her daughters attend.

School officials said Wednesday that there were elevated levels of two types of molds inside the school.

Students have been learning remotely for two days after tests showed mold in the system.

“I guess my biggest concern is if they knew it was there, why did the county allow them to start?” said the mom, who did not want to be identified for privacy reasons.

One of her daughters said her asthma symptoms increased two wees ago when school started.

“It’s kind of hard to breathe, and you wheeze sometimes, and then you can’t catch your breath,” the student said.

The girl said she has had nose bleeds in the past week, which she had never had before.

“The school actually had to call me, and within the first hour of school, (my daughter) had three nose bleeds,” the mother said. “So she came home early, and we went to the (doctor) that day.”

The mother has records with their doctor of her daughter’s health issues.

“Everything you read falls right in line with all their symptoms, and it all goes back to mold,” she said.

The mom said her daughter has a device that allows doctors to track her breathing levels.

“Before school started, (my daughter) was at 133, and once school started, it would kind of just go down,” the mother said. “On Thursday the 18th, it was down to 66.”

She said that drop alerted her daughter’s doctors.

“When the doctor called, she was like, ‘We just got this notification. Numbers have fallen. Is she OK? What’s going on?’”

This mother said she’s the one who contacted Rowan County’s Health Department last week requesting an inspection of the school building. She said the principal told her they were working on the issue.

Channel 9 has been pushing for information about the situation.

The school emailed Channel 9 on Wednesday and stated, “Environmental testing showed elevated levels of aspergillus/penicillium. We received these results Monday and took action immediately.”

The CDC said aspergillus and penicillium are two of the most common types of indoor mold.

Channel 9 asked the health department if those types are safer than other molds for students to be around.

Officials said they could not answer the question with a singular yes or no.

Additional cleaning is being done at the school, officials said.

(Watch the video below: Middle school shifts to remote learning due to microbial growth inside HVAC)

Hannah Goetz

Hannah Goetz, wsoctv.com

Hannah is a reporter for WSOC-TV.