HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Near the end of August when Fort Bend ISD students are supposed to be starting their fall semester, Willowridge High School announces it will not be opening yet.
"We are not going to open that school until it is safe, sanitized and ready for the students and staff", says spokesperson Amanda Bubela.
School officials say the mold problem is so bad that environmental experts are working around the clock to clean up and repair potentially more than $2 million dollars in damage.
"We can't be at somebody else's school for our senior year so ya I hope it gets fixed soon", says senior Chantel Frazier.
The Fraziers have a family line of Willowridge students and graduates too. Several have asthma, a reason why Tamara Frazier is grateful the district is waiting to reopen the school. "You don't want the kids to get sick", says Frazier.
We are told flooring, ceiling tiles and furniture will all need to be replaced before anyone is allowed back inside. "It is pretty widespread to the point where I would say a majority of the building has been impacted in some way and of course the remediation, that's an extensive effort", says Bubela.
"I really wish they can do whatever they can to the school to open up", says Ariana Caldwell.
Parents of students can visit the following website to learn more about what their options are during the remediation process: https://www.fortbendisd.com/site/Default.aspx?PageID=88781
Willowridge High School will post daily updates about the mold clean up, you can find by clicking here.
Fort Bend Independent School District released the following statement on Thursday:
Willowridge High School is currently undergoing extensive clean-up efforts to remove mold that facilities crews discovered in the building this summer. The clean-up process will take some time as environmental experts work 24 hours, seven days a week to ensure that no area of the school is overlooked, as the health and safety of students and staff is the top priority.
To keep our parents, staff, students and community informed of the latest developments in the clean-up process and the reopening of the school, Fort Bend ISD has created a webpage to provide accurate and timely updates. By visiting the website, you can learn more about the mold remediation process, how FBISD is supporting WHS, the plans that are being finalized to accommodate students and staff as the school year begins, and how community members can join in efforts to support the school.
"Our primary focus is the academic achievement of our students. We want to make sure they are in classrooms and ready to learn on the first day of school, even if they will be learning in a different location. I am proud of the way our District has pulled together to support the staff at WHS with the resources and support they need to welcome their students for the start of another successful school year," said FBISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Dupre.
"We are in constant communication with the leadership team at WHS, and we are in the process of replacing all instructional items, furniture, supplies and the many other items that are needed to restore WHS and support the school. Still, we empathize with our teachers who may have lost personal belongings, and so we understand and appreciate that many fellow teachers and community members are willing to help with supplemental items," said Dupre.
While FBISD District leaders initially hoped that remediation would be complete for the start of the 2017-18 school year, the District has learned that this will not be possible due to the extensive process and the lead-time required to restore the building and purchase replacement items. District staff members continue to finalize plans for the start of the 2017-18 school year, with details to be shared within the next week.