Dear Oakdale-Bohemia Faculty, Staff and Community,

As we continue to face the environmental challenges brought on by the persistent heat and humidity, the District is expanding the scope of cleaning, remediation and subsequent monitoring that is taking place throughout Oakdale Bohemia Middle School. As part of these evolving efforts, we have recently detected several new areas affected by this challenge, including less utilized spaces such as closets and storage areas. As such, please know that we are remaining diligent in our efforts to resolve any issue as it arises and are steadfast in monitoring the situation.

Unfortunately, one of the newly questioned areas is the orchestra storage closet, located at the rear of the Large Group Instruction (LGI) area. The instruments stored in this area will be evaluated by RCS Musical Instrument and Repair Company and those that need to be professionally cleaned and/or repaired will be taken care of. In the meantime, we will begin the process of borrowing instruments from the rest the district to ensure that our OBMS orchestra students continue to practice and learn new material. Because of reports that there was continuing issues in the LGI, the district brought in experts yesterday (Sept. 19) to look at the area once again. Out of an abundance of caution, we closed the room today (Sept. 20) in order to allow outside contractors to have full access to expand their inspection of the room, including looking above the acoustical tiles housed within the rafters and the space above the ceiling panels. We will follow their advice pertaining to any additional remediation of the space, if necessary. Should any additional remediation be necessary, the district will follow up with further air quality testing. In the meantime, all classes that are normally scheduled for the LGI have been temporarily reassigned to other spaces in the building.

The most critical element to this process has been the tremendous amount of communication that is being generated between the custodial staff, the faculty and the community. Please continue to say something if you see something.

Our short-term remediation plan continues to include utilizing commercial-grade dehumidifiers in areas of high moisture, providing additional staff during normal working hours as well as staffing the school with custodial cleaning crews each weekend and all holidays that the school has been closed. Not only has this permitted us time to clean less-utilized spaces, it has allowed us to diligently monitor the building and clean additional areas that are identified as having any mold. Additionally we have scheduled refresher courses for our custodial staff on the most effective utilization of all of our cleaning supplies. 

As we maintain this effort of increasing the overall cleanliness of the building, we have been working with the teacher union leadership to coordinate an assessment of the building by NYCOSH (New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health). This organization will provide yet another lens by which to look at the building and the issues we are facing. Once their review of the building has taken place we anticipate posting the report online with all of the information that has been shared to date. Earlier this year, the district had visitation and monitoring by PESH (Public Employees Safety and Health) an arm of the Department of Labor. While they verbally gave us feedback that all of our processes were aligned with Federal standards and best practice, the district still has not received their formal report. As soon as it is made available to us, we will publish it on the website.

In order to remediate this issue for the long-term, the Board of Education has pledged financial support for capital changes and has directed the district’s architect to develop and submit plans to the State Education Department (SED). The first step in this process is filing a letter of intent to pursue capital work which the architect submitted to SED on September 13, 2018.

As we continue to keep you updated on both our short-term and long-term remediation of this ongoing challenge, please know that your input into things that you are experiencing and seeing helps us to fine tune our approach to this situation as well as find the cause, which can ultimately help us ensure that we come to a proper long-term solution.

Thank you for your continued support and patience as we work through these challenges.

Dr. Lynda G. Adams 
Superintendent of Schools