Parents concerned over radon testing and lack of communication

Local News

MANSFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Parents in one school district feel left in the dark about an issue that is possible affecting their students’ health.

This past fall, the Blue Ridge School district tested for radon in all of the school buildings.

The tests came back normal in all of them, except the south side of the Junior High School. That’s where parents are concerned. Some levels there were more than three times higher than what’s considered “acceptable.”

The “acceptable” range value ends at 4.0. The highest reading was 13.1

The school district did radon testing this past fall. But many parents are just now finding out about the results. The superintendent says she wants to apologize for not communicating the information the way she should have.

At least several parents say their kids have been coming home from school with headaches, and they realized that’s a mild symptom of radon exposure. They worry about what other symptoms could show up.

“That’s a high amount of exposure,” said parent Jamie Schoonover. “What is the long-term effect they’re going to have?”

She created a post on Facebook, where she quickly realized she wasn’t alone.

“Nobody even knew about this,” she said.

People like Jennifer Schumacher are frustrated with the delayed response from the school district. The school district is in the abatement process now, and looking at a temporary solution. But parents want to know what’s being done now to address it.

“It’s going to take some time for that to happen, and we want our kids dealt with immediately,” said Schumacher. “I just want a safe environment for my son.”

Superintendent Susan Wilson said the district has not been advised to evacuate students, or that the current levels pose a health risk.

However, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and USEPA say radon levels above 4.0 picocuries per liter of air can pose a risk for lung cancer.

School was also canceled at the Blue Ridge School District Tuesday because there was no heat.

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