3 MFS Students Have Tested Positive for Above-Normal CO Levels.

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

Meadowbrook Farms Elementary School reopened Friday after no evidence of heightened carbon monoxide levels was found during testing Thursday by both the EG Fire Department and National Grid, said Supt. Victor Mercurio. In recent weeks, three second grade students had tested positive for increased carbon monoxide after experiencing flu-like symptoms.

The first student reported signs of illness before April break, Mercurio said. The student had gone to the nurse and eventually the nurse recommended to the parents that they have their child checked for carbon monoxide poisoning. When the test came back positive, the district had air quality test company Ocean State Analytics (who does regular work for the district) check out the school. The air quality was shown to be normal. But then, in the last week of April, another student was tested and found positive. Finally, a third student recently tested positive.

“After the third student, we thought out of an abundance of caution, we’d close the building,” Mercurio said, “and conduct a more pristine test.” On Thursday, the district called in the EGFD and National Grid. They closed the building (carbon monoxide dissipates quickly in fresh air, which is why it’s usually more of a problem in winter) and ran tests. 

“We simulated a day when the mechanicals are running, all of the normal things that would happen in the course of a school day,” he said. By mechanicals, Mercurio meant things like the furnace and kitchen appliances. “All of those tests came back negative,” he said.

Mercurio said some had asked if the CO problem could be from bus fumes. EG school buses get emission tested twice a year, he said, and they run on propane, a cleaner fuel than diesel. In addition, the three students, all second graders and all in the same class, get to school by different ways. A couple of them ride the bus but not the same bus. Another student does not ride the bus.

With no school-connected culprit, Mercurio said the parents were recommended to ask the fire department to test their homes. But, he said, “we’re going to continue to monitor the situation.”

Here’s the letter Meadowbrook Principal Neil Marcaccio sent to MFS parents Thursday evening: Marcaccio letter 5/9/19.


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