A letter was sent to the Board of Education from Peter Madden, President of the AEA (Amity Education Association). He enclosed a copy of the Review of Documents to Air Quality by the Yale Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program.

January 1999

A letter was sent to the Board of Education from Peter Madden, President of the AEA (Amity Education Association). He enclosed a copy of the Review of Documents to Air Quality by the Yale Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program. He notes the AEA's concern about the environment at the Senior High School. He also mentions that "the quantity of test information made it impossible for us to determine whether there was any cause for concern regarding the safety of the building, and at the same time it was difficult to know if remediation steps as proposed would be sufficient to rectify the situation. As a result, the AEA and CEA (CT Educational Association) paid $5,000 to commission the enclosed study".

The review by Yale Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program is a document well worth reading. It would also be well worth looking into why there are several pages missing (ii-v) from this report, although it is hand-stamped in numerical sequence. They were not included in the AIR QUALITY REPORTS book made available to the public at town libraries and all Amity Schools, put together by the attorney for the school at the time, Carole Briggs. (From now on referred to as "the book").

I'm sure there's a logical reason for the omission. I'm just not sure whose logic was in mind. Also, in APPENDIX A-page I, there is a list of documents that were reviewed. Of the 19 documents made available to Yale Occupational by the AEA and CEA, only 15 are included in "the book". There are four that are not:

Summary of visits by students to the school nurse related to possible indoor air quality problems, apparently compiled January 2 and 4, 1996, and based on interviews of the students by Dr. Frank, Consulting Physician.

Report by Gil Cormier, CIH of Occupational Risk Control Service of indoor air quality comfort survey performed Dec. 6, 1995 and Dec. 8, 1995.

Report of Indoor Air Quality Comfort Survey prepared by Gil Cormier, CIH for David Lyons of the Amity School District, (inspection done Dec. 2, 1996)

Appendix to report by Gil Cormier consisting of fungal bulk sample results performed April 24, 1998.

The omission of these documents is in contradiction to a letter from Atty. Briggs to Toby Zabinski, Media Specialist at Amity Junior High School dated Jan. 23, 2001, that states the binder ("the book") includes a copy of all the Indoor Air Quality Reports.

Also, there is an undated document (#20) in "the book" that is entitled Amity Sampling Protocol for Field Safety Corp. assessment of Indoor Air Quality. After reading this, I believe it to be a very thorough plan to monitor and test certain areas of concern at the school. Unfortunately, there is no documentation to show this was ever followed up or implemented by the school.

February 1999

Report submitted by Field Safety Corporation for Westcott and Mapes, Inc. consulting engineers regarding Amity High School Auditorium Restoration. Charts indicate that testing results "improved" after a cleaning and renewal effort.

Summer 1999

Remediation efforts were completed. I have no information, anywhere, that indicates who performed this work, if it was sent out to bid, any bid documentation, bid results or an end bill for the work performed. I would like to tie this in to the referendum in Dec. 1998 as I mentioned last week. I will be able to do this next week when I have the information but it was not available to me at the time of this article.

September 1999

On Sept. 9 Cathy Symonds was again, rushed by ambulance to the hospital. It was found that the ventilation system in the back gym was not in operation, therefore, there was no air circulation. Recommendations from two doctors noted that Symonds should not be working in the back gym.

October 1999

On Oct. 18 Symonds was rushed again to the ER.

November 1999

Despite the letters from two doctors recommending. Symonds not teach in the back gym, Dr. Wenner stated that there was "no verification that the back gym was an unsafe environment". Later that month, Symonds was transferred to Amity Jr. High School in Orange.

Again, the need for statistics is very important. Please continue to forward any information, which will be kept confidential, on past illnesses while at Amity to me, in care of The Bulletin. Remember…there is safety in numbers.

Editors note: The opinions in this column are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent those of the Bulletin.