Community Expresses Concern About Portables

Urbana Town Courier
Sally Alt
Although the Frederick County Public County Schools (FCPS) system is working hard to ensure the health and safety of classrooms, community members believe that more should be done to safeguard the health of students and teachers in portable classrooms at Urbana Elementary School (UES). Jeff Esko, who taught for 23 years in the Gifted and Talented Magnet Program at UES, filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration alleging that his health issues were caused by working in a portable classroom. The fifth grade teacher spent seven years teaching in portable buildings used as classrooms at UES, and has been treated for ocular migraines and vision loss Health issues in some portable classrooms may be linked to indoor air quality problems, which can be caused by poorly functioning HVAC systems, chemical off-gassing from pressed wood and other high-emission materials, water entry and mold growth, and improper or infrequent cleaning, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Outdoor air should be supplied continuously when a portable classroom is occupied by students and teachers, the EPA said.