STARKE Fla.-- No sooner than school started for Zaya Thompson this year, it stopped. Thursday, the fourth-grader came home from Starke Elementary with a letter for her mom informing her that classes are canceled due to high levels of mold in multiple sections of the campus. It's a frightening find especially because Zaya suffers from asthma.
"It accelerates it when they have respiratory problems," said Starr Pittman, Zaya's mother.
Action News searched through the air quality reports completed on the school. They reveal that some classroom had three times the normal levels of mold particles.
Fortunately even after a week of classes at Starke, Zaya has no breathing complications, and was healthy enough to make it to cheer practice Thursday. The district says there have been no other reports of health issues either.
Zaya's mom says she will still be taking her for a check up to be extra cautious.
"I do feel that something could have been done a little bit sooner," said Pittman.
Bradford County schools superintendent Chad Farnsworth says the school first reported the problem on Aug. 5, but has a history of mold growth.
So why wasn't the problem taken care of sooner? Farnsworth says air quality results take weeks and they removed students the moment they learned of unsafe spore levels on campus.
"It was found in a couple classrooms on some tables and desk surfaces and on some random objects," he said.
Now about 500 Starke Elementary students will be displaced, moved to other schools and local churches willing to hold classes until a thorough inspection and cleaning of campus can be complete.
Class will be back in session Tuesday, Sept. 3 in alternative locations. The district will notify parents via telephone, email, on Facebook