The Plymouth, Mass., school committee reopened the Indian Brook Elementary School last week after health officials reported that the building did not pose a health hazard for students and teachers.
State health officials concluded, in their investigation into probable causes of a high rate of birth defects and miscarriages among teachers and staff members, that at least some of the health complaints at the school were related to an insufficient flow of fresh air, according to Robert G. Dickie, the principal.
The school committee had decided last month not to reopen the school until health officials had studied environmental conditions there. The investigators found, Mr. Dickie said, that the ventilation system in the building was not drawing in enough fresh air.
That problem explained some of the complaints of nausea and headaches, they told him. The ventilation problem, he added, has been alleviated.
Mr. Dickie said that the officials were not able to explain the miscarriages or the birth defects.
The temporary shutdown affected 650 students in kindergarten through the 6th grade, who have been attending other schools in split shifts. Mr. Dickie said all of the students will be back at the Indian Brook school by Oct. 26.
The Delaware Board of Education has passed regulations intended to improve the quality of teachers in the state, but it did not adopt several recommendations made by a gubernatorially appointed committee last spring.
Beginning next July, all prospective teachers in the state will have to pass a "pre-professional" competency test. The board also voted to reduce the duration of teacher licences from ten years to five.
And by July 1987 all teachers in the state must earn six semesters of graduate or undergraduate credits in order to renew their licences.
Frank B. Murray, dean of the school of education at the University of Delaware and chairman of the 10-member group that was appointed by Gov. Pierre S. du Pont IV to study ways of upgrading teaching in Deleware, said, however, that the board passed over the "most interesting" proposals made by his panel.
Among these, he said, were a recommendation to establish a permanent committee on teaching that would conduct annual studies on teacher competency in Delaware and a proposal to start a statewide program to train school administrators to evaluate teachers.
Vol. 02, Issue 07