Farmersville Elementary School and East Hills Middle School will not open for classes as scheduled on Monday, as public school officials continue to wrestle with mold problems in both buildings.
Bethlehem Area Schools Superintendent Joseph Roy announced Friday through a Website memo that both schools will open no sooner than a day late, as mold remediation, cleaning and air testing continues.
A decision to open either or both schools on Tuesday will be made on Monday, depending on recommendations made by the certified industrial hygienist the district uses to assure indoor air quality in its buildings, Roy said.
“Depending on the results of ongoing air testing, visual inspections, and recommendations by the [certified industrial hygienist], it may be necessary to close one or both of the schools on subsequent days,” Roy’s memo says.
It is also possible that the district may open one or both schools and relocate some students to unaffected classrooms, Roy said.
“Families who have children enrolled in the Farmersville Elementary School Day Care may transport their child to Miller Heights Elementary School on days when Farmersville Elementary School is closed,” Roy’s memo says.
Staff first discovered mold in several classrooms at East Hills Middle School on Aug. 12. The district facilities department then discovered that there were high humidity levels throughout the school’s east wing and in several west wing classrooms.
The district deployed de-humidifiers and air scrubbers to affected parts of the building and turned up the air conditioning to stop fungus growth.
The district also hired a contractor—Sargent Enterprises Inc.—to work on mold remediation—a process that includes using hospital grade disinfectant to wipe down, walls, floors and furniture and using a HEPA-filtered vacuum to clean everything else, including schoolbooks.
An air test conducted in the building Wednesday showed improvement, but apparently not enough to satisfy the certified industrial hygienist or the district.
Returning staff at Farmersville Elementary discovered mold in several classrooms on Wednesday. The discovery prompted the school district to cancel a scheduled Kindergarten orientation on Thursday.
Sargent Enterprises Inc. has also been hired to conduct cleanup in that building, Roy said.