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Efforts allow classes to resume



Published: Wed, May 2, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Parents support the school board's decision to close the intermediate school.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

GIRARD -- Elementary and intermediate school pupils will return to classrooms Thursday and Friday.

Kindergarten through third-grade pupils will go to Prospect Elementary School when it reopens Thursday, Superintendent Anthony D'Ambrosio said Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, fourth- and fifth-graders will move from the closed Girard Intermediate School to Tod Woods Elementary School and sixth-graders to the junior-senior high school Friday.

Working in conjunction with the city board of health, the school board this week closed the intermediate school through the end of the school year because of pupil illness. Prospect was closed the same time as a precautionary measure and because of some complaints of illness.

D'Ambrosio said he is working out the details to get equipment moved to the junior-senior high school and Tod Woods by Friday.

In a prepared statement, Richard Ragozine, school board president who has replaced D'Ambrosio as district spokesman, said Prospect will be thoroughly cleaned and sealed off from the intermediate school.

The schools have been the site of testing for formaldehyde, fiberglass, dust, mold and bacteria.

Here was problem: A large number of intermediate school pupils have complained of health problems, including headaches, itchy and burning eyes and vomiting.

Tod Woods served as the district's intermediate school until last fall when the new intermediate building opened.

Parents say they support the school board's decision to close the intermediate school and hold classes in other buildings.

Cathy Ross, president of Girard Concerned Citizens, expressed pleasure with the closing of the school for the remainder of the school year.

Ross said she will monitor results of the tests on the school and try to make sure Prospect is sealed off from the intermediate school so air doesn't flow into Prospect.

Some examples: Connie Shultz, whose son, Grant, is in the sixth grade, said Tuesday that she definitely agrees with the board action to close the school.

Shultz said her son experienced swollen eyes, headaches, dizziness and general tiredness when he was in school.

"It won't be that inconvenient" switching buildings, Shultz said. "I'm glad they closed it."

Florence Doran, whose son, Stephen, is also in the sixth grade, said she was happy with the closing.

"As far as I'm concerned, he wasn't going back until they find out what's going on with him," Doran asserted.

Like Doran, Dean Weitzman wouldn't have sent his daughter Sara back to the sixth grade at the intermediate school.

The closing is "probably for the best," said Weitzman, the father of three daughters. Sara has experienced dizziness, headaches and upset stomach.

Weitzman said he had been looking for another school to send the sixth-grader but will now allow her to attend classes at the junior-senior high building.

Pennie Bada, whose son Stephen is in the fifth grade, said the school district was neglectful in not having an alternate site to the intermediate school long ago.

Her doctor told her shortly before Easter to keep her son out of the school, and she did.

"It was just not a good environment for him to be in," she recalled her doctor telling her.

Asked if her son would be going to Tod Woods, she responded, "I'm going to let my doctor make that choice."




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