|Moldy classroom (How does this “facilitate the continuity of government," Glenn?)|
I have received a copy of an email, dated Oct. 9, from one of the full-time instructors that regularly teaches in room A205—Wendy Gabriella—to Faculty Association (union) official Lewis Long, regarding that room. Here it is in full:
1) What compensation is available to faculty who were sick, went to the doctor and incurred co-payments as well as our share of the cost of office visits as well as prescription costs? How do we file claims for reimbursement?
3) I did not cancel classes but I know that some of my colleagues who taught in A205 in the summer of 2013 did have to cancel classes. Is there a way to make sure that their sick leave is not charged?
4) I have five students (that I know of) this semester who are sick and have been diagnosed with bronchitis and upper respiratory infections. How will the district compensate the students for their medical expenses?
5) What safeguards are in place to ensure that the other classrooms and offices in A200 are safe for faculty and students. Mold usually does not affect one room.
6) Of course, the larger question is: What procedures are in place at the college to address the situation when four faculty members teaching in the same classroom are diagnosed with upper respiratory illnesses? After I found out about the related upper respiratory illnesses of four faculty members whose only common denominator was teaching in A205 in the summer of 2013, I reported the situation to Vice President of Instruction Craig Justice during the first week of instruction, August 19, 2013. He subsequently indicated that testing was being done on the HVAC system. However, and most importantly, classes remained in A205 until Thursday, October 2, 2013. That means that our faculty and our students remained in a classroom contaminated with mold for seven weeks after the problem was reported. Additionally, even though the classroom was closed on October 2, 2013 and a sign with instructions "DO NOT ENTER" was placed on the door, Dean Karima Feldhus and I witnessed classes being held in A205 on October 2, 2013. Further, on October 2, 2013, when I showed up for my 12:30 class, the "DO NOT ENTER" sign was posted on the door, the door was unlocked, the lights were on, and my students were sitting in the classroom. What procedures and lines of communication need to be established to prevent this from happening in the future?
They keep forgetting to lock the door.
In conclusion, this situation directly pertains to faculty work conditions. I would like to formally request that the Faculty Association, in consultation with the District, establish procedures for protecting the health of our students and faculty with a detailed debriefing of what happened in A205. The A200 building has a long history of mold dating back to 1990 as does the A100 building. There is a documented history at the college of employees suffering as a result of mold contamination. We do not know how many of our students have been affected. It was obvious that four faculty members diagnosed with upper respiratory illnesses in the summer of 2013 was not a coincidence. Given the long history of mold, the classroom should have been immediately closed and then testing should have begun rather than allowing 7 weeks of further exposure and suffering during the testing. Given the long history of mold at the college, I would think that in order to ensure student success, there should be procedures in place to immediately address mold related illnesses which have been frequent and sustained since 1990. This is not the first incident of mold related illnesses. Students and faculty cannot learn and be successful in an environment contaminated with mold.
Many thanks to Elizabeth Chambers who informed me that my symptoms were the same as another faculty member's symptoms, otherwise I would have thought that is was just me as we all did, including our students. Dr. Chamber's comment prompted me to inquire a bit further and discover that every instructor teaching in A205 during the summer of 2013 was diagnosed with upper respiratory infections. Also thank you to Dean Karima Feldhus who attempted to assist in the regulation of the temperature in A205 and was informed that the choice was an igloo or a sauna. Obviously, I should have opted for the igloo. But why is an igloo or a sauna the choice?
Reportedly, an "unpleasant growth" in the west wall
Please forward my email to the Faculty Association and the college and district administration as necessary in resolving the issues I have raised.
We're on the case, as usual!
On behalf of the affected faculty members and students, I am formally requesting a response from the Faculty Association regarding the issues I have raised.