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Mold closes N.J. high school until further notice

Source:, September 7, 2018
By: Allison Pries

Students at North Brunswick High School were sent home early Friday after mold was discovered in a wing of the sprawling school.
The district conducted air quality tests after an HVAC unit broke and was rush repaired overnight, Superintendent Brian Zychowski said.
“Because of what we’re seeing at other schools throughout the state … I just wanted to use an abundance of caution,” he said.
Garden State Environmental visited the school at about 6 a.m. to conduct testing and found surface mold that was not visible to the naked eye, Zychowski said.
The high school’s 1,800 students and more than 300 staff members were dismissed at about 10:15 a.m., according to a letter on the school’s website signed by Principal Michael Kneller. He “deferred all questions” to Zychowski.
The mold issue is confined to the 500 wing of the building, which houses World Language and Business classrooms, the superintendent said.
It’s unclear when the building will be safe to occupy.
“I don’t want to give a date because I’m at the mercy of the testing lab,” Zychowski said.
Several other New Jersey school districts are dealing with mold problems because of the warm, wet weather in August, backing-up testing labs. Dumont High School had to relocate its art classes. Students in two Hopatcong elementary schools will start their school year on Sept. 10 instead of Sept. 6 because of mold. And three Ocean County Schools had to be scrubbed down before students could return.
North Brunswick High School only lost one day of classes, so far. It had a scheduled half day Wednesday, when it opened. Thursday turned into a half day because of the heat and the broken HVAC system. Then Friday was lost.
The entire district was already scheduled to be closed Monday. “Hopefully we can open (the high school) Tuesday, but I can’t promise that because I’m not going jeopardize anything by trying to fast track the results,” Zychowski said.
Consolidated Environmental will do a clean up of the mold, Vertex Environmental will provide oversight and Dynamic Earth will do additional air quality testing, per the district’s insurance carrier.
The mold-related expenses are not expected to be significant because North Brunswick School District added mold coverage to it’s insurance policy several years ago, the superintendent said.

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