Air quality cited as college daycare shuts down

The daycare at the College of the North Atlantic in St. John's has been closed due to poor air quality, amid calls for more investigation.
Air quality prompts temporary closure at CNA in St. John's, reports Curtis Rumbolt 2:17

The daycare centre at the College of the North Atlantic's main campus in St. John's has been closed due to poor air quality, with one physician whose children attend the centre calling for comprehensive testing.

"We did an air quality test about two to three weeks ago and the results of the tests came back and said there were airborne spores in elevated numbers," said John Oates, the director of CNA's St. John's campus.

The College of the North Atlantic's daycare at its St. John's campus has been temporarily closed. (CBC )

Officials believe the problem is connected to a leaky roof.

Oates said the centre was closed as soon as the results were delivered. Children are being cared for at an alternative space on the Prince Philip Drive campus.

"What they've told us is that there's really no medical, health associated risk associated with it," Oates said.

"The numbers aren't to that extent and there hasn't been long-term exposure."

But Dr. Ken Ledez, a St. John's anesthesiologist who has had five sons attend the centre over the past nine years, said the air quality there warrants further investigation.

Ledez said the quality of care that his sons — three of whom still are at the centre — have received is second to none, but he has serious concerns.

"We've had all five children who've had to go to the emergency department and four of the five have had to be admitted to hospital with respiratory issues," Ledez said.

"One of the issues that always surprised me is that, not uncommonly, we'd be seeing other children at the daycare there at the same time."

In the legislature, Liberal critic Andrew Parsons raised the issue of air quality at the centre.

Advanced Education and Skills Minister Joan Burke said measures are being put in place to remedy the situation, and that it will not reopen until the structure, which is near the main campus building, is declared safe.

Meanwhile, CNA will soon post a copy of the air quality report on its website.