The Ohio Department of Health's School Environmental Health and Safety Inspection Manual spells out the guidelines school systems are to follow to keep their roofs safe and intact.

School roofs should be inspected once a year, and in the aftermath of severe weather that could damage the roof or lead to water penetrating the roof surface.

"A properly executed roof maintenance program should not only reduce leaks, thereby minimizing mold development, but as a secondary benefit, it should increase roof longevity," the manual says. "If you suspect mold has infested a building material, a visual inspection is the most important step in identifying a possible mold contamination problem. The extent of water damage and mold growth should be visually assessed, and all organic materials should be investigated."

The guidelines states that the inspection should be carried out by a qualified inspector, which it identifies as "an individual familiar with the design, installation and maintenance of roofing systems. If the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system is on the roof, the qualified individual also must be familiar with the operation and maintenance of the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system."

The school should have an up-to-date drawing that shows the location of items of the roof such as heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units; exhaust vents and roof drains.

"Yearly roof cleaning and the application of roofing sealants will help prevent problems," the manual says. "It is preferable to perform these inspections in the spring and fall each year. Individuals capable of determining not only apparent, immediate problems but also those conditions that could become problems, should perform these inspections.

Once inspectors have identified deficiencies, schools should bring in a qualified roofing mechanic to repair the roof in a timely manner, the manual recommends.

Read the main story, "Roofing," to learn more.