LIVINGSTON, NJ — After “a lot of screaming and yelling” to get his hands on a retest and re-evaluation report for upgrades made to the district’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, Livingston Public Schools (LPS) Business Administrator Steve Robinson was finally able to provide details of that report to the Livingston Board of Education (LBOE).
Speaking alongside James Perrette, LPS Manager of Buildings and Grounds, on Monday, Robinson explained that district consultant Johnson & Urban, LLC had drafted a preliminary report prior to the start of the academic year that provided updates on the district’s HVAC upgrades. In addition to installing MERV 13 filters and univents systems in all LPS buildings, the district also installed portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in all nursing stations and purchased air purifiers for any classrooms without windows.
According to Robinson, the latest report indicated that all minor adjustments noted in the preliminary report have been made and that nearly all classrooms are now within “tolerance” levels.
Robinson noted that some classrooms were listed as being above tolerance levels, while the main offices, nurses rooms and principal offices at Burnet Hill and Hillside Elementary Schools were listed as being slightly below tolerance levels, although occupancy is permitted in this case. The Livingston High School (LHS) auxiliary gym is also below tolerance due to an energy efficiency measure, he said.
Perrette explained that the throttles are down when there is no occupancy in the area because there are carbon dioxide (CO2) sensors that regulate the system, and the fan is designed to not be on. When occupied, however, the fan will turn on and the levels become acceptable, he said.
Although Robinson requested that the engineering firm conduct additional samples in classrooms at all schools, the final reported omitted any reference to additional samples taken at LHS. Robinson stated he would make another requested for the firm to conduct the analysis and return data indicating the results.
Following his update, Robinson said he would provide a copy of the report to all board members.
When asked whether he could also make a copy of the report available on the district website for public review, Robinson said he was reluctant to do, stating that he did not see the purpose and that the district is not hiding anything.
He added there have not been many parents requesting to see the report and that placing it on the website it may seem “like there is an issue when we do not have one.”
Robinson also urged members of the public to contact him directly if they are interested in obtaining the report, and he will supply it upon request. The district’s ongoing document of frequently asked questions will be updated to include information from the report as well.
During public comment, resident Cindy Goldstein expressed concern about the business administrator’s reluctance to upload the report to the website.
“This is an unprecedented time, and we keep hearing about air quality issues,” she said. “We should not have to fill out an OPRA request. It should not be left up to the parents to ask for it. It should be made easily available to the parents who want to know what is going on.”
The Livingston Public Schools district did not respond to TAPinto Livingston’s request for a copy of the report prior to the publication of this article.
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