Three more students and one teacher have been found to have heightened levels of carbon monoxide, Meadowbrook Farms Principal Neil Marcaccio said Saturday. In an email to families Friday night, Marcaccio said all areas of the school continued to test negative for carbon monoxide and daily monitoring would continue.

Meadowbrook was closed Thursday for full testing after three students tested positive for CO in their blood. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that is often linked to poorly vented gas heaters, furnaces, or cars.

Here’s Marcaccio’s complete email:

May 10, 2019

Dear Meadowbrook Families,

I would like to update you again regarding carbon monoxide.

We did not register any detectable levels of CO in any area of  the building today, Friday 5/10. This was consistent with what was measured on Thursday, 5/9. All classrooms and common spaces were checked repeatedly.

As of this evening three more students at Meadowbrook and one staff member have tested as having varying degrees of elevated carbon monoxide in their blood. One of these students is in the same homeroom as the original three cases. The other two are in two different classrooms. To date a total of six students and one staff member have tested as elevated. I have also received two reports of children testing negative for CO after complaining of symptoms consistent with elevated CO.

We sent six students home from school today, Friday 5/10, with varying degrees of flu like symptoms, three of whom were in the initially impacted classroom. Some of the students that were sent home today have or will be tested for CO after families consulted with their pediatricians. It is not unusual for us to send this many students home with flu like symptoms on a given school day. However, in light of recent events these situations are being given extra attention.

I would encourage all families to continue to ask questions. At the same time I would caution everyone to consider the source when receiving and and passing along information related to CO. Some erroneous information has been circulating in the community. For example, I heard today from three sources that an CO alarm had been triggered at Meadowbrook and ignored. No CO alarm has gone off at Meadowbrook. I also assure you an alarm would never be ignored. We did have one alarm make a chirping noise associated with being jostled or a low battery about a week ago. This may be the source of the misinformation. Again, these chirps were not a CO alarm. There is also much information circulating regarding the number of impacted students. I can only report on confirmed elevated readings which are first shared with the school nurse or me. I have and will continue to report this information to all parents withing hours of verification. The numbers reported above are accurate as of 11 p.m. on Friday, May 10.

The school department and I continue to be deeply concerned about this matter and our investigation will remain open until we get some answers.

We have been told by our school department consulting pediatrician and the Department of Health that our building is safe if we are not picking up detectable levels of CO.

Some parents have asked me if I would send my own children to school under current conditions. I would do so with the expectations of ongoing monitoring and the receipt of frequent updates from administration.

The plan for next week is to continue to monitor all spaces daily. Ocean State Analytical will be returning to complete additional  testing as well.

Sincerely,

Neil Marcaccio
Principal
Meadowbrook Farms Elementary School