RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) confirmed it was investigating after blood was found in the hallways of Richmond Community High School on Monday morning.
"Employers are required to maintain worksites in a clean and sanitary condition. Equipment and working surfaces are required to be cleaned and decontaminated after contact with blood or other potentially infectious material," Jennifer Rose, with the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, said when asked about potential workplace safety violations.
Students shared pictures with the CBS 6 Problem Solvers on Tuesday that showed blood stains covering the hallways and splattered across the floors and walls. Sarah Abubaker, a spokesperson for Richmond Public Schools, said an intruder broke into the school over the weekend and smashed windows. The man also injured himself and walked around the school.
Blood was still visible when students and staff arrived for school on Monday.
"This should not have happened, and we apologize for any distress caused to our community," Abubaker said. "We will be reviewing our security and custodial protocols to ensure a safe and clean campus for our community."
Richmond parent Justine Wiseman said she was not surprised to learn about the mess left in the school's hallways.
She pulled her child from Richmond Public Schools after she said she saw structural issues within the school system.
“Where is all this [tax] money going to if you can’t keep the actual buildings that you’re sending students to safe?” she asked. “If you have a good structure for facility management, for operations of your buildings, there should be an emergency process in place when you have a mistake made. There should’ve been a biohazard cleanup in the building. School should’ve been canceled the next day.”
Richmond Schools said it was working to tighten cleanup protocols. The CBS 6 Problem Solvers looked into those protocols.
According to school board policy, Richmond Schools maintains a bloodborne pathogens exposure control plan which aims to prevent the transmission of diseases, such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C, through human blood.
The Problem Solvers have asked Richmond Schools what exactly is detailed in its bloodborne pathogens control plan and if state or federal health regulations were violated in this incident.
The Problem Solvers await a response.
A Richmond Schools teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, said even though the Health Department determined the incident to be low risk, the school administration should have immediately taken extreme precautions.
“We go through bloodborne pathogen training at the beginning of every year, which takes us through all the procedures that we have to follow," the teacher said. “They just looked at the scene and decided a plan of action that did not follow procedures that were supposed to happen."
Richmond Schools did say it pledged to use this situation as an opportunity to build back its relationship with Richmond families.
When asked for a response to the investigation launched into the RPS incident, Abubaker said she was unavailable to comment as of Wednesday afternoon.
Rose said communications between state officials and RPS remain confidential.
"Employers may also contact the VOSH Program’s Division of Cooperative Programs for assistance in complying with our standards," Rose said.
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