Head Start delayed in Plaquemine area

Deidre Cruse

Classes for 214 Plaquemine-area Head Start students have been delayed until later this month while contractors work to assure their facilities are free of mold, Iberville parish Chief Administrative Officer Edward A. “Lucky” Songy Jr. said Friday.

The classes are held in two temporary buildings located behind the Iberville Optional Education Center on Plaquemine Street.

Janitors discovered mold in the two temporary buildings used for the Head Start Program when they began pre-school cleaning in late July, Songy said.

The janitors cleaned the buildings, and the parish contacted a mold remediation expert, who found some remaining spores.

“A mold abatement company went in and abated the mold in the facilities,” he said. “We delayed the start of Head Start in the Plaquemine area until all the mold abatement process could be completed.

Part of the problem might have been a leaking roof, which was found during the process. Songy said roofing work was scheduled for completion last week.

Some teachers might have gone to the buildings to get ready for the start of school, he said. As a precaution, Dr. Luke Lee, the parish's medical officer, provided the staff with information about mold and its effects.

The Head Start students are taught by 11 teachers and 11 teachers' aides.

“We want to make sure it is absolutely free of any mold or spores and that everything is good and heating and air conditioning system is in order before we let them back in the building,” Songy said.

A definite date for the start of classes has not been set, but is expected within two weeks, the CAO said.

The Iberville Parish Office of Community Services operates the Head Start Program here.