Rows of lockers dipped in shadow with a single bright lit window at the end of the hallway

When school lets out for the year, some facility cleaning managers close up shop for months at a time. In hot and humid locations, this can be extremely problematic for air quality and bacterial growth inside vacant buildings.

In Florida, facilities left untouched during summer months can exceed 100 degrees indoors. Stagnant air mixed with hot and humid temperatures can create mold and mildew issues that fester until custodial departments step in to prepare for a new school year.

According to Ocala Star Banner reports, the Ocala (Florida) School District will avoid mold and mildew issues by continuing to run air conditioning (AC) systems throughout the summer months, even in unused schools. This was decided after determining that cost savings from shutting off the AC is eaten up by the needed extra cleaning. The air ducts at many of the unused schools become “a big petri dish,” say reports.

Thermostats inside unoccupied schools will be set at 85 degrees so the air conditioning system, as well as the facility, will be cleaner when the school year begins in August.

Mold concerns are nothing new for Florida schools. According to an August 2018 CleanLink report, after finding mold in the Osceola Magnet Elementary School's kindergarten and first grade wing, school officials opted to deep-clean the entire campus before school started.

Officials at the Vero Beach school believed the mold grew when Osceola Magnet's air conditioner was shut down for repairs over the summer.