Town Square

Opening day classes cancelled at Hearst Elementary School

Original post made on Aug 25, 2009

Opening day classes at Hearst Elementary School have been canceled after elevated mold levels were found in several classrooms.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 25, 2009, 7:59 AM


Posted by resident
a resident of Walnut Hills
on Aug 25, 2009 at 8:28 am

Thank you for putting out kids' health and safety first. It's inconvenient and probably a bureaucratic nightmare for the district, but you did the right thing!

Posted by Mom of Hearst child
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2009 at 8:36 am

As a parent of a child who goes to Hearst, I commend Mike Kuhfal and the district for being so proactive.
We had to move out of our townhouse and into another home this summer due to mold in my daughter's bedroom. The rental company didn't want to correct the problem and I will not take chances with my child's health.
We're disappointed, we were looking forward to school starting, and had the clothes all picked out and the backpack packed. I'll take disappointment over illness any day!

Posted by Jim
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Aug 25, 2009 at 9:14 am

You are right to have closed the school and think of the kids first. My only question is why didn't you know this before? You have had all Summer and are just now letting people know that the school will be closed for the first day? Seems like this should have been done a long time ago. A huge disruption to everyone. Pre Planning prevents poor performance

Posted by momo
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 25, 2009 at 10:03 am

jim you took the words right out of my mouth!!!!!!!!

Posted by Jill
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Aug 25, 2009 at 10:47 am

According to the Contra Costa Times (Web Link "The mold was first discovered last week when a teacher cleaning her room moved a bookcase and discovered mold on the wall. Further testing revealed that the mold was also located between the stucco and drywall."

Principal Kuhfal told some parents this morning that the problem originated with an exterior public address speaker that was uncaulked. Rain got in and mold started growing. The district decided to be proactive and inspect and test the air in all of the classrooms, not just in the one building where the mold was initially discovered.

Posted by soccer mom
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 25, 2009 at 11:37 am

I fell so sad for them i mean its just so heart breaking my douter quit the soccer team

Posted by Huh
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Well, we can see how at least one elementary school kid is spending his/her unexpected day off :)

Posted by Jill
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Aug 25, 2009 at 1:04 pm

An update from the district website (
Web Link

Hearst update, Tuesday, August 25, 12 noon
Classes at Hearst Elementary School in the Pleasanton Unified School District were canceled today due to concerns about elevated levels of mold in several classrooms.

A teacher working in a classroom in the C Building at Hearst moved a bookcase and discovered some visible mold on the wall. Testing of the air in that room was conducted, and the results came back clear. When District staff began to follow standard protocol for clean up late last week, they discovered mold between the external stucco wall and interior walls which had spread to an adjacent classroom. Over the weekend, the District authorized additional testing and checked other areas for potential leaks. water damage, and mold. In addition, plans were made to relocate the classes from the eight rooms in the C Building.

At 9:30 p.m. Monday night, test results came back with indicated elevated mold levels in additional classrooms at Hearst. With the number of rooms now impacted, classes were canceled for today in order to allow for additional testing and to make plans to accommodate students on Wednesday.

The District expects to receive the additional test results later today (between 6 and 10 p.m.). At that time, families will receive information via phone, email, and websites as to where their students should report on Wednesday morning. The District hopes to be able to house all students in classrooms at Hearst which have been cleared and in vacant classrooms at the adjacent Pleasanton Middle School.

Posted by NBC
a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Check out NBC (cable channel 3) at 6:00 PM for news broadcast from ealier today at Hearst School.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2009 at 1:46 pm

I always assumed the district did routine safety inspections, including inspecting for mold, at each school each year. Maybe they did and didn't catch this as early as they could have.
The overworked custodians probably don't have time to move furniture to do thorough cleaning wall to wall cleaning - just clean visible surfaces. Hope the district now asks all its employees to check behind furniture at all the other schools.

Posted by Still waiting
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Uh, I guess those 10 custodians that were terminated due to budget cuts do matter.

Posted by Very Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Dear Superintendant Casey,

Please tell us how much this clean up will cost our cash-strapped district.


The ATM Machine (a.k.a. Pleasanton Taxpayers)

Posted by What?
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 25, 2009 at 2:07 pm

That school, as well as the Middle School were never protected propertly from the exterior elements.

Drive by and take a look at the stucco. As usaual, Pleasanton got ripped off by the builders who always bid very high fro State work and cut corners.

Posted by D W
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Between mold and H1N1, let's hope there's no other trouble anywhere in town. It's the last thing any of us need. Classes are teams in a way, and each student could use a whole lot more team camarardarie after all of the health and economic woes each kid's family, friends, and other guardians are facing on a daily basis.

Thank you everybody from the blogs here to the PUSD to the PPD and beyond for keeping a heads up on this matter. Be vigilant, all.

Posted by momommom
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Ok so what if the first day was cancelled? They discovered they had a problem and are getting it fixed. And really how often do you all clean behind your bookcases at home? Just be happy it was found. My child was very surprised and happy to learn they got another day off!! (Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff).

Posted by Susie
a resident of Castlewood Heights
on Aug 25, 2009 at 3:02 pm

let's hope the mold is cleaned up fast, and they make it a point to check and seal all possible leaks at all the schools.

Most Pleasanton moms aren't stay at home moms.

Posted by DJ
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Aug 25, 2009 at 3:08 pm

The district lost a full day of ada dollars X 650 students. Does the staff still get paid? Can they make up the lost revenue by adding a school day?
Does this lost revenue cancel out the money raised this summer?

Can PUSD ask the local churchs to borrow classroom space if needed?

Posted by jt
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Aug 25, 2009 at 4:08 pm

To momommom,

You are either an ignorant pin head or you just don’t get out of your trailer enough to know what’s really going on around this town. The is no basis of fact or data to justify your comment - "most Hearst moms are stay at home or work at home so it wasn't really an inconvenience".

Obviously you didn't get the benefit of a quality education

Posted by Laughing out loud
a resident of Livermore
on Aug 25, 2009 at 4:37 pm

The school over-reacted big time. There was really no danger whatsoever to the children or staff. They could have commenced classes and cleaned up the mold this weekend. By the way, what did they do 10 years ago before the concept of "Toxic Mold" was invented by these contractors? Can anyone remember schools being closed down because of mold in the 60's, 70's or 80's?

Posted by Colette
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Dear Laughing Out Loud,
You have no idea what you are talking about. How do you know "there was no danger whatsoever to the children or staff." Are you a medical doctor? It is obvious that you need to educate yourself on the matter. Toxic mold is extremely dangerous and is very real. Both my son and I were affected by it and it was a nightmare. Bloody noses, asthma, skin fungus, cough, headaches, etc. Toxic mold was not invented by contractors. Take a look in a medical journal and educate yourself before making such foolish comments. I commend PUSD for taking action and protecting our kids and staff.

Posted by bobart
a resident of Danbury Park
on Aug 25, 2009 at 5:00 pm

After the PA system was installed it should have been inspected and passed for proper installation. The contractors should have been brought back to seal all opening. Then afterward it should have been maintained by the school/city maintainance crews. Caulking needs to be watched. Black mold is a health issue and can cause many problems especially those with chronic conditions such as sinusitis and asthma. Check all your bathrooms and around your homes.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2009 at 5:29 pm

Totally agree that mold can cause major health problems and the district needed to take immediate action. That's to their credit.

To answer momommom, I move the furniture when I vacuum each week, dust door frames, baseboards and all other surfaces and use non-toxic cleaners. It's what people do when they have family members who have allergies. Time consuming, not exciting, but necessary to minimize health problems. Prevention is cheaper than going to the doctor.

Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Aug 25, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Seriously? The maintenance staff should have watched it? Sure, lets add more to their already growing list of responsibilities. While we are at it, lets also cut several custodians and expect more. No wait, WE'VE ALREADY DONE THAT!!!

This is just the beginning. Wait until there is an emergency at one of our campuses during the school day. Then Pleasanton, you will definitely see why the parcel tax should have been passed.

I can't wait to read the comments when the district decides it has to cut summer school to save money!

Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Aug 25, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Mold is serious but what do parents plan to do if the pig flu kills lots of people in the fall? A friend of mine told me that her grandson came down with the pig flu after 3 days in kindergarten (Sacramento). He was sent home, but the school remained open.

It seems to me that it's a bad idea to only send home one child and not the others who were also exposed. Anyway, other kids came down with it later and they were also sent home.

Tamiflu can help but now I hear that everybody will have to take a flu shot which may pose very serious risk to everybody. I would rather stay home and forget about school until a safe vaccine is developed. Maybe class size will get smaller as a result of the pig flu?

Posted by Any update?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2009 at 9:41 pm

"Between 6 and 10pm" and it's nearing that.

Posted by go to
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Go to the hearst website it was updated around 7. Yes it will be open tomorrow.

Posted by PToWN94566
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2009 at 10:22 pm

PToWN94566 is a registered user.

Channel 2 news said that the district is announcing for all students to report to school tomorrow and the principal will discuss what is to happen. The news said something about some rooms being closed for months as walls have to be torn down. Isn't mold what caused Walnut Grove to get a complete makeover?

Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 25, 2009 at 11:35 pm

Hm, I see that the anonymity provided to people is still encouraging nasty, irresponsible comments on The Pleasanton Weekly blogs.

Oh, and you forgot to blame Obama for this...I'm not sure what his connection is, but I'm sure you'll find one. I'll check back.

Posted by Suggestion
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 26, 2009 at 1:21 am

If your child does not attent hearst, please keep your mout shut!~

Thanks Kindly!

Posted by Fun Gus
a resident of another community
on Aug 26, 2009 at 7:22 am

Molding young minds....

Posted by get over it
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Aug 26, 2009 at 12:43 pm

People the last time I checked it's called life, things happen.

The people who dropped off there kids and have done the majority of the complaining are the same people who send there kids to school when they are sick to share the microorganism, especially one that can cause the rest of the class to get sick. Thank you so much.

Posted by Pam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2009 at 10:52 am

Could have been worse; how about Foothill starting the first day with about 20+ kids that needed breathilizer tests due to drinking? You don't see that in the news!

Posted by Parent
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Aug 27, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Their parents should feel ashamed! This is not a school issue if the kids are turning up drunk, it's a home issue. Good for the school for dealing with it!

Posted by Curious
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Aug 27, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Just curious - what did Foothill do about the kids they determined had been drinking?
I remember at Amador, administrators were at every dance and if they suspected a student had been drinking, administered a breathalyzer test. I think they just called the parents to pick up the kids. Never heard of anyone getting suspended or not allowed to attend future dances.
Just wondered exactly what the schools do in these situations.

Posted by Disgusted Pleasanton Resident
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Sep 27, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Dear Just Curious,

Foothill High School has problems that need attention by someone who can make a difference! These are BIG problem kids (about 30 of them) who all came to school wasted on the first day of their senior year. These students were allowed to get drunk by parents, who are at the helm of their own child's ship, steering them and all of their friends right into a drunken frenzy! It was the parents that sponsored these "troubled" kids to have boy/girl sleep overs, just asking for even more trouble!

Doesn't that sound like a great idea? A boy/girl sleep over full of 17 and 18 year old teens who have all, for the most part, had a history of drug abuse, inappropriate sexual conduct with multiple partners (friends with benefits), and alcohol usage on a regular basis?

These kids have no boundaries, are allowed to do whatever they want, with their parents continuing to support their terrible, inappropriate, rotten potty mouth behavior thinking they're just tool cool to follow any of the rules. Then, there's Foothill High School that continues to let this stuff happen, over and over again by the SAME problem kids that really belong in Village.

Why should the kids who are trying to get an education be subjected to their nonsense? Because the good kids just keep their heads down, trying not to attract any attention to themselves. Why cant Foothill High School have a "no tolerance policy" when it comes to drugs, weapons and kids showing up wasted to school? Why can't Foothill High School do a better job protecting the kids who are trying to learn?

It's just disgusting that these parents of Foothill High School try to live their life through their kids, thinking coed sleep overs are the way to go, attempting to get their kids more attention with the "IN crowd" at Foothill High. Maybe their shooting for the title of Homecoming Queen or King?

What I know for sure is that these kids at Foothill High that continue to cause trouble will be the same kids that have to live at home after they graduate, sleep in until noon, and be of no benefit to society whatsoever. I truly wish more for all of these kids. Now the parents need to do the same.

What a waste of what was once a great child with hope and dreams of becoming someone great!

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Ridgeview Commons

on May 30, 2017 at 4:12 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?