Many kids are excited to enjoy a few extra weeks of summer vacation as their school years are delayed due to mold in the buildings, but for the parents, it has been costly and stressful to find someone to watch their children.
“Parents don’t plan on taking another vacation,” said Northfield resident Susan Palaia, who has two children who attend the Northfield Community School. “The news has been very difficult for families. Some are relying on grandparents or friends. Some are missing work.”
The Northfield school district announced Saturday that the Community School at Cedar Bridge Road and Route 9 will not open until Sept. 24. But on Sunday, Superintendent Janice DeCicco Fipp announced the environmental firm in charge of the cleanup informed her that “there is a probability” it could finish all the work by Sept. 19.
Parents and faculty in Somers Point are also dealing with delays in school openings because of mold issues. Ocean City High School and the Weymouth Township School also had to delay openings but are both open as of today.
Northfield’s school year was supposed to start Thursday, and Palaia said she and her husband both took a vacation day so they could watch their sons Jack, 8, and Joey, 7, last week. When she heard the news of the continued delay Saturday night, she contacted the Milton & Betty Katz Jewish Community Center in Margate, where the boys attend summer camp, and asked if they could put together a program for a few weeks.
“Who knew they’d be going back to camp so soon?” Palaia joked.
The JCC has about 575 kids in its “Camp By The Sea” summer camp, and on Sunday the staff put together a mini camp for the next two weeks, said Sheryl Rubin, the center’s program director.
On Monday, eight kids from Northfield and Somers Point attended the special program the center is providing for $50 a day. The campers receive a lunch, swimming, nature lessons, sports, arts and crafts, and field trips. Rubin said the center put out the word out Sunday to its families in Northfield and Somers Point.
“We do whatever we can to help the community out,” said Ashley Reich, the center’s youth and teen events coordinator.
The camp is from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and there is a separate after-school program from 3:30 to 6 p.m. The camp will not be open Monday or Tuesday next week due to Rosh Hashana.
Northfield resident Darrell Ingram brought his son Eric, 7, to the JCC for the first time Monday. He said the family has had to deal with a lot of stress trying to figure out what to do for their son.
“We would have to pay for baby-sitting or maybe fly his grandmother up from Florida to take care of him,” Ingram said.
He said it was frustrating that the school had this problem and wasn’t ready for the first day. But he did take a moment at one point to lean back on the bleachers and watch his son use the JCC’s rock wall.
“It is cool seeing my boy climb the wall like this,” he said.
The Somers Point school district was supposed to open its three buildings this week, but they have been closed indefinitely because of mold. Superintendent Jeffrey Miller said he is waiting for a firm opening date from contractors.
The Weymouth school district was cleared to open its school in Dorothy today after delaying the start of the year last week due to mold, Superintendent Donna Van Horn said.
“We are good to go,” Van Horn said. “We were given full clearance.”
Ocean City High School reopened Monday after officials closed the school Friday when it was discovered that mold there was more widespread than originally thought. The district had closed a portion of the building Thursday.
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