Adams-Friendship Elem. Unsure What is Causing Students' Rashes

By: WSAW Staff Email
By: WSAW Staff Email
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The Adams-Friendship Elementary school has sent a letter to parents addressing concerns about students experiencing rashes, headaches and nausea.

The district says they are continuing to investigate the matter, and so far the fire department has tested for carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, and also tested the air to make sure that the oxygen content of the air was acceptable. The air quality was determined to be acceptable and they have indicated that it is still safe to occupy the building.

The District Administrator for the Adams-Friendship School District tells NewsChannel 7 environmental engineers from Adams, Sauk, Juneau counties along with state investigators are continuing to do tests at the Adams-Friendship Elementary School to determine what is causing skin irritation to students and staff members.

Supt. Richard Waski said the students began experiencing hives and itchiness last week. Over the weekend a very thorough cleaning was done along with several tests for toxic gases.

The Adams County Health Department said in a news release staff the school district is making arrangements for the students to attend school at an alternate classroom as the investigation continues.

Parents are asked to report any new symptoms to the district.

At this time the health department said they cannot confirm the source of the symptoms.

Below is copy of the letter sent to parents:

Parents and/or Guardians of Adams-Friendship Elementary School Students:

Beginning late last week, a small but increasing number of students at Adams-Friendship Elementary displayed skin irritation and symptoms including hives, rashes, and itchy skin. A smaller number of students have experienced itching, headaches, and nausea.

Aside from one isolated case, the skin irritation began late last week. On Friday, December 6th, there were four (4) reported cases of this skin irritation. At that point, all students displaying the symptoms were from two classrooms in the 4th and 5th grade wing and it was decided to go beyond the normal cleaning routine and substantially increase the amount of cleaning to include scrubbing the floor, complete cleaning of desks and chairs, wiping down the walls, and dusting. Additionally, our maintenance staff checked the ventilation to ensure that air was flowing properly and that there was no water or other substances above the dropped ceiling panels or down the walls. It was our hope that this cleaning would contain the incidence of this skin irritation.

Unfortunately, this Monday eight (8) students displayed the skin irritation and on Tuesday 12 students and three to four staff members showed the same symptoms. On Monday night, we re-cleaned the rooms with a specific type of cleaning product that we use throughout the district. Additionally, we have removed hanging objects from the ceiling and lights that might attract dust or allergens. However, the measures that have been taken thus far have not been successful in reducing the incidence of these skin irritations.

The Adams County Health Department has been involved with this matter since the repeated skin irritation was reported. We have since collaborated with the county to contact an Environmental Specialist for Adams and Sauk County and have been in contact with environmental consultants from the state. Additionally, the A-F Fire Department tested for carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, and also tested the air to make sure that the oxygen content of the air was acceptable. The air quality was determined to be acceptable and they have indicated that it is still safe to occupy the building.

We will continue to test air quality and surfaces that students may come in contact. At this point, this is still a small number of students given the overall student population of over 500 students. We will continue the testing and problem-solving with various agencies until we determine the cause of this skin irritation or the issue goes away. In the meantime, we assure you that we all are taking all precautions that we have been directed to take.

If you have further concerns or questions on the matter, please contact Principal Garret Gould at 339-3016 or District Administrator Rick Waski at 339-3213.

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