February 8, 2019
Good Afternoon Fleetwood Community,
This communication is to update everyone on the emergency situation that occurred at the middle school last evening. As you may be aware, last night during the Fleetwood Community Theatre play practice, at approximately 8:30 PM, multiple adults and students (2 adults and 7 students) suddenly became ill and needed medical treatment. Emergency services were called and responded to the emergency situation promptly. The building was evacuated and those with symptoms were transported to hospitals. It is believed that the illness resulted from carbon monoxide exposure, but neither the fire department nor Berks County Department of Emergency Services found any traces of carbon monoxide. We do have confirmation that the test results from the hospital show some level of carbon monoxide exposure for most of the people treated there.
As a precautionary measure, we closed the middle school to conduct additional testing and an investigation concerning the matter. This morning, an outside air quality contractor was at the middle school to continue the investigation. After hours of testing, they did not find any cause for the illness, or any unsafe gas levels, including but not limited to carbon monoxide. One concern that has been identified is the possibility that the stage lights could have been a contributing factor to the illness. Therefore, the overhead stage lights will not be used until our lighting contractor can certify that they are safe and working properly. Additionally, we installed carbon monoxide detectors in the auditorium, stage, and back stage areas to help monitor and ensure the safety of our students, staff, and community.
While the building has been cleared for use, we will be keeping it closed throughout the evening tonight, February 8, 2019, to continue to monitor the situation. We do plan to reopen the building for events on Saturday, February 9, 2019, including a regular school day on Monday, February 11, 2019. Even after re-opening the building, we will continue to monitor the building to ensure everyone’s safety.
A special thank you from Fleetwood Area School District goes to our Fleetwood community first responders who acted quickly and efficiently to handle all health concerns and support the students and community members during this emergency situation.
As always, our main concern is for the safety and wellbeing of our students, staff, and community.
Greg M. Miller, Ed. D