While most students returned to school for the new semester yesterday, parents of students at Nanyou Primary School in Nanshan District wanted to keep their children home due to the poor air in the school following renovation work, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported.
Some of the parents told the newspaper that their children felt uncomfortable and even vomited after returning to their classrooms to register a few days ago. Some even brought their own devices to test the air quality in the classrooms and found the results read “severely polluted.”
However, the school responded Sunday that the new teaching building had passed air quality tests and was qualified for use.
The primary school had undergone reconstruction work over the past year, while students took classes at a temporary site at Bolun Vocational School.
Parents found that some workers were still carrying out sporadic construction work and living in the classrooms days before the school reopened for the new school year.
“All of the windows were closed and no air was let in,” one parent complained. Although some had tested air quality by themselves, the others thought it necessary to ask the school to hire a third-party testing institution to conduct a thorough test, but the school did not agree.
A parent of a third grader even asked for a long period of sick leave. “I want my kid to stay home longer because some students said they felt uncomfortable after going to the school, and I am very worried,” said the parent.
In fact, a lot of parents opposed the idea of reopening the school this September. Some suggested that students continue taking courses at the vocational school, but did not receive any response.
A notification on the local fire department’s website suggests that the renovated school failed to meet firefighting standards in August.
The school has placed a lot of plants, tea stems and air-freshening agents inside the classrooms. The reporter found that the gymnasium in the basement seemed to have an obvious odor that causes nausea if one stays there for a long time.
Xiao Jairui, vice principal of the school, responded to the concerns of the parents Sunday. She said that the teaching building was painted eight months ago and the school had invited parents to supervise the air quality check this June. The results in June showed the air quality had reached a qualified level.
Xiao said that results differed because the two tests chose different testing points in the classrooms using different procedures.
Also, the vice principal said the school would respect the parents’ decision about whether to keep the new wooden desks and chairs or to continue to use the old ones, as the new wooden furniture has a unique odor due to the materials.
Regarding the notification the fire department issued in mid-August, the school said it had already made adjustments and would commence the new semester as scheduled.