Plymouth School Reopens; Many Students Stay Home

A Washington County elementary school reopened this morning after being closed Thursday.

The school system says 152 students were absent today, or about 20% of the school's students. The superintendent believes many parents decided to keep their children home today.

WITN News first reported Wednesday that more than 25 students began coughing and having headaches in one part of Pines Elementary School.

School officials say the kids got sick because of a humidity problem in the school's air conditioning system. Superintendent Julius Walker says the problem has been corrected.

Walker says there have been no reported problems at the Plymouth school this morning. The superintendent tells WITN except for the high absentee rate, everything is running normal.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Thankful Mom Location: Carthage,tx on Nov 3, 2007 at 07:57 AM
    When I read this story I was just thankful that my daughter was no longer attending this school,thankfully we have moved. On the other hand though it really bothers me due to the fact that I know alot of these kids and their parents. I grew up there and my daughter atteneded the school from pre-k untill this year.Last year my daughter kept coming home from this same school with headaches almost everyday and per other parents so did alot of other kids.Maybe this problem is more than what their telling.The one thing that I can guarantee though is that the teachers are just as unaware of the situation as the parents.Not one of the teachers at that school would ever do anything to harm the children or knowlingly put them in any kind of danger.I pray that what ever the problem was, or is that it is properly taken care of and not just covered up.All of the students and staff are in my prayers.
  • by If you're going to lie, make it believable! Location: Plymouth on Oct 14, 2007 at 12:58 AM
    I called the BOE around 4pm, 10/11. I was told by a secretary they had just come out of a meeting and there would be school tomorrow. Mr. Phifer didn’t know what the problem was, but school would be open. I told him it seemed kind of stupid to open school and he didn’t even know what the problem was. I asked when the state was going to send out something saying it was safe. He didn’t THINK they found anything harmful. He THOUGHT it had something to do w/the humidity in the air. He did say some carpet had to be replaced, he THOUGHT it was b/c it was heavily soiled, but he DIDN’T KNOW which hall it was on. Now what’s his job title again? I don’t THINK he was really that uninformed. Why would he, as a protector of our children, allow reopening school knowing no more than he did when speaking to me? How did the media get told it WAS a humidity problem when he, at the central office didn’t know for sure? Hopefully, he wasn’t the official they talked to, unless something changed between 4&6.
  • by Not stupid Location: Washington County on Oct 11, 2007 at 07:30 PM
    The whole explanation given by school administration does not ring true. If humidity was the cause, then the sicknesses should have been at their worst when the air conditioner was broken, not after it got fixed because air conditioners take humidity OUT of the air. Even a malfunctioning air conditioner would not put more humidity into the air than was already there when it was not working. If open windows were the cause of the breathing problems, then the epidemic should have been at its peak while they were open during the time the AIR CONDITIONING WAS BROKEN TWO WEEKS AGO. Am I the only one who sees major holes in this so-called explanation?!
  • by Teach Location: Plymouth on Oct 11, 2007 at 06:28 PM
    Teachers are being blamed for leaving windows open, when they had no air conditioning for 9 days, and after it was repaired 1 teacher was instructed by Pines administration to leave windows open for students' health. Washington County is a great place to raise kids, and I'd put the education up against any...still, we can do better in terms of communication to avoid overly reacting and putting our energy into counterproductive ventures.
  • by Tommy Location: Crewell on Oct 11, 2007 at 04:56 PM
    If the board of education really cared about what was happening in the schools they would not let the school know when they are comming around to inspected it. People need to wake up and get a whole new school board starting with Mr. Walker and the rest of the school board.You need people on the board that actually have children still in the school system then they might care about what is going on.
  • by Responsible Citizen Location: Washington County on Oct 11, 2007 at 03:41 PM
    My Children will not be going back to pines until this is resolved. I want test results for the air quality from an independent organization. I also want all the children and staff of Pines to undergo check ups including lab work to prove there is no mold.
  • by Concerned Parent Location: Plymouth N.C. on Oct 11, 2007 at 03:37 PM
    I too have a child that goes to pines and she is in the third grade, now the school stated that the problem started in the 2nd and 3rd grade halls I'm wondering to why wasn't i notified about this problem. Last year a pre-K class had a child that had scarlet fever but only that one class was dismissed from school to have the kids tested. Now this year it's mold and mildew, I truely think the school should remain closed for futher testing one day just isn't enough time for something this serious. Are they scared it will be worse than they think. PARENTS DO NOT SEND YOUR KIDS BACK SO SOON.
  • by Worried Mom Location: Plymouth on Oct 11, 2007 at 03:34 PM
    Since this is now being blamed on humidity I think it is time for a real investigation into the real problem. I personally feel insulted that our school board would assume any one would believe humidity alone could cause severe breathing problems. The cause of mold and mildew is directly related to humidity and any one who has ever had to deal with mold should know this. I am fed up with this Washington County cover up! I will be calling our state representative and demanding a real investigation. I will also be contacting them regarding the complete incompetence of our school board. To think some one told me today they were blaming this on the teachers opening doors while the air was out of order.
  • by UPSET GRANDMOM Location: Belhaven on Oct 11, 2007 at 03:27 PM
    The Pines Elementary - Plymouth What the heck are the officials in Washington County trying to cover up this time? The humidity? Come on people.... Somebody take charge of this dysfunctional organization.. My Grandchildren's health and welfare are at the hands of a group of yahoos who don't know what in the blue moon they are doing. I was upset when the principal had my grandchildren out on the side of a major intersate protesting the OLF when in fact my grandchildren had no opinion about it. Don't keep using these kids... Someone step in and do something. There is something wrong at the school besides the humidity.. and something needs done before these kids go back into harms way.
  • by Grandparent Location: Pymouth on Oct 11, 2007 at 02:33 PM
    Who informed the school officals that it was the humidity in the AC? I hope not the workers from the county maintenance Dept. They are the ones who should of known of the problem in the first place. Who was at the meeting to decide for the children to return to school? Was the news media invited? Was there something else in the air? I believe that an investagation needs to take place. If people are trying to cover up heads should roll!
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