North Attleborough teachers federation demands indoor air quality assessment

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North Attleborough High School

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

With the first day of school less than a week away, the union representing North School employees is demanding an assessment of the HVAC systems in all nine schools.

In a statement posted to the social media page for the North Attleboro Federation of Teachers [NAFT], these demands have been made since early July, with the goal of ensuring that indoor air quality meets appropriate standards to prevent airborne transmission of the coronavirus.

“It is the responsibility of everyone, regardless of if you are a teacher, a school principal, or school committee member, to ensure the safest school environment possible, especially in the middle of a Pandemic that has already killed nearly 200,000 people in this nation,” said Nicole Reminder, President of the North Attleboro Federation of Teachers. “Why has the district not released an assessment of the HVAC for the public to see?”

School in North Attleborough begins on Wednesday, Sept. 16 with a remote class, and students return to the classrooms on Sept. 17. A hybrid method will be utilized, with students will be split into two cohorts—one in school on Monday and Tuesday and the second on Thursday and Friday. Wednesday will be a fully remote day while the schools are disinfected.

At the School Committee meeting on Sept. 9, Superintendent Scott Holcomb said that indoor air quality will be closely monitored.

Last April air quality tests were ordered at the Amvet Boulevard and Community schools after mold was discovered in the buildings.

In the statement, the NAFT has requested that this assessment be shared with employees and the community to show schools have the highest quality air system. This was also discussed in negotiations around the reopening of schools, though the NFTA states that a report has not been produced.

Many other school districts around the state have produced such reports, and many reports have revealed serious inadequacies in school building HVAC systems,” according to the statement.