A recent investigation by FOX 26 has revealed concerning levels of carbon dioxide inside Houston Independent School District’s Kelso Elementary School.
The discovery was made after teachers and students complained of experiencing headaches and difficulty with breathing.
Documents obtained by FOX 26 show that high levels of carbon dioxide were found in at least two classrooms in the school, with readings of over 1,800 and 2,338 parts per million (ppm) respectively.
According to experts, carbon dioxide levels above 1,000 can cause “decreased wakefulness,” while levels above 2,500 ppm are considered “moderate pollution” which can lead to possible headaches, drowsiness, lethargy, and inability to concentrate. Despite these findings, officials at the school or district have not yet warned parents of the air quality issues.
One anonymous teacher from Kelso Elementary stated that the sub-standard air quality at the school is affecting the health of staff members and students. The teacher, who wishes to keep their identity hidden out of fear of retaliation, explained that the poor air quality gives them headaches and makes them dizzy, while the students may have health issues that are not yet known. They added that if the school was in a more affluent area of Houston, the issue would have received immediate attention.
Documents obtained by FOX 26 also show that photos from an inspector revealed mold growth on pipes and air vents in the school building. In response, a spokesperson from the Houston Independent School District stated that they were aware of an HVAC issue that had occurred at the school but claimed that the mold was not harmful and was likely caused by excess humidity and condensation in the air-conditioning system.
However, the anonymous teacher insisted that the issue was not necessarily the mold itself but the poor air quality caused by the air not circulating properly. They also revealed that the school had not shared the information about the air quality issues with parents.
In a more recent test taken in February, CO2 levels had decreased from the previous test. However, levels in the same two classrooms were still “above recommended air quality guidelines.” Kelso Elementary School has since moved at least one of the classes in question to another room, with students currently on Spring Break.
The findings from the investigation by FOX 26 highlight the need for further action and attention to be given to the air quality inside schools, especially in lower-income areas. It is imperative that officials take the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of both students and staff members, and that parents are adequately informed about any potential hazards.
“Dangerous Air-Quality Inside Houston ISD Elementary School”
“High Levels of Carbon Dioxide Discovered at Kelso Elementary”
“Teacher and Student Health Affected by Poor Air Quality”
“Mold and High CO2 Levels Found at HISD Elementary School”
“HISD Under Fire for Allegedly Ignoring Air Quality Issues at Kelso Elementary”