Newly-uncovered mold causes Fort Bend ISD elementary school to close for upcoming school year

Courtney Carpenter Image
Thursday, July 21, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

Fort Bend ISD during a routine facility assessment, mold was found in the chilled water piping above the ceiling.

SUGAR LAND, Texas (KTRK) -- Winston Le, a fifth grader who was set to return to Barrington Place Elementary School this fall, says he is bummed his school will be closed.

"Kind of sad because I wish I could stay at my home school for the last year of elementary school," Le said.

Fort Bend ISD said mold was initially found on some school walls in May. Then in late June, during a routine facility assessment, mold was found in the chilled water piping above the ceiling.

The district said the insulation surrounding the chilled water piping deteriorated with age, allowing moisture to get into the material and creating conditions where the mold could grow.

The district plans to split up Barrington Place Elementary School students by grade level and send them to surrounding schools.

Students in pre-kindergarten and early childhood special education programs will attend Sugar Mill Elementary. Kindergarten through second-grade students will attend Meadows Elementary. Third through fifth-grade students will go to Lakeview Elementary.

This is one more change for young students who have already had to adapt to COVID-19.

"We are anticipating anxiety problems. She already has a lot of social anxiety," Becky Lockwood, whose granddaughter will be in second grade, said.

Families who now have kids assigned to two different schools are also worried about how this will work.

"Very hard...right now she has to figure out what to do about that," explained Dao Nguyen, the grandmother of two children who are assigned to different campuses.

Remediation and renovations are supposed to be finished in time for students to be back at Barrington Place for the 2023-2024 school year.

Throughout the change of plans, Winston is hopeful for a great fifth-grade year.

"I think everything will be alright, and I just want to have my best year, last year of elementary school," Le said.

Ruth Riha will continue to serve as the principal of Barrington Place Elementary and will also serve as the principal of Meadows Elementary.

Support staff and teachers will be relocated to the host campuses.

Fort Bend ISD has set up a special call center to help answer questions about the changes. Parents and guardians can call 281-634-4040 to get more information. They also have a FAQ section on their website.