A carbon monoxide leak at an Atlanta area elementary school Monday has prompted questions about the safety of San Antonio schools.
The leak from a faulty boiler system sickened 42 students and seven adults. Some believe a simple carbon monoxide detector could have given school officials an early warning, but they aren't required under Georgia law.
Texas doesn't require schools to have them either.
Northside ISD's Pascual Gonzalez said Texas schools are not mandated by the State to have carbon monoxide detectors, but that doesn't make kids less safe.
Gonzalez said the district's schools have two boilers on campus that are housed in self-contained rooms with plenty of outside ventilation and those systems are inspected twice a year and have built in fail-safes.
"All of these systems we have in place have several safeguards built in so if there is a leak it automatically shuts down," Gonzalez said. "So we feel very good that the equipment we have in the schools is working properly and the students are safe."
According to San Antonio ISD spokeswoman Leslie Price, the district doesn't have any CO detectors mainly because none of their main buildings or schools have natural gas or propane heating.
In a statement Price said, "In the District there are a handful of areas that have natural gas heating, some old shop classes at a few high schools that are in buildings separate from the main campus, and these will be replaced under the bond."
Price also said, "We have a preventive maintenance effort where our environmental staff visit every school annually to check the heating and air conditioning equipment. This process begins in the summer and is completed before heating season.”
Judson ISD's spokesman Steve Linscomb said newer schools like Rolling Meadows have CO detectors integrated into the heating and cooling systems and older schools are being retrofitted to include them as money becomes available.
"We try to keep a handle on it through our maintenance program and we do the best we can as we have the money available to renovate the older schools," Linscomb said.
While there is no state mandate to have CO detectors the district follows guidelines laid out by a national association of heating and cooling professionals.
"We are going by that standard even though the state does not mandate it," Linscomb said. "So we're actually going beyond what the state mandates."
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