Having carbon monoxide detectors in Gwinnett County Public Schools is not standard policy. Patch inquired if GCPS used these devices after a potentially deadly furnace leak Monday (Dec. 3) at Finch Elementary in southwest Atlanta sent nearly 50 students and teachers to the hospital with symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
“We do not have carbon monoxide detectors in [GCPS] schools as a district standard,” responded Jorge Quintana, GCPS director of media relations. “However, these detectors are used as part of our preventive maintenance program, in which we monitor air systems to detect and correct issues prior to a problem occurring.”
Sloan Roach, GCPS executive director of communications and media relations, said: “We do not have any issues with carbon monoxide in our schools due to our preventative maintenance program.” Maintenance staff routinely inspect heating systems in the schools, and if there is any concern, they put in a carbon monoxide detector and monitor it, she explained.
GCPS does not plan to install carbon monoxide detectors systemwide, Roach said, but there is talk among state legislators about passing a law requiring the detectors to be installed in schools in the future. State law currently does not require carbon monoxide detectors in schools.
Atlanta Public Schools attributed the incident at Finch Elementary to human error, according to 11alive.com. When maintenance workers inspected the furnace last Friday (Nov. 30), they failed to open a valve, and carbon monoxide fumes accumulated in the school building, APS officials said.
Carbon monoxide detectors have since been installed at Finch Elementary. And boilers in all Atlanta public schools will be checked in coming weeks, the 11alive.com report stated.
The Gainesville, GA, City School District has begun installing carbon monoxide detectors in all its schools, 11alive.com also reported.
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