SOMERS POINT — Mold was found at the Jordan Road School on Aug. 14, which caused an emergency remediation just three weeks before the school’s scheduled Sept. 5 start date.
Superintendent Bob Previti said that as of Wednesday the mold has been taken care of and it should not affect the beginning of classes.
That was not the case last year, when all three of the Somers Point School District’s schools were closed until Sept. 18 because of mold found in its buildings in late August.
Parents were notified Sept. 4, 2012, just days before the school year was supposed to start, that their children would not be going back until the problem was rectified.
According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, mold can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs of people who are both allergic and not allergic. Dead mold can still cause an allergic reaction.
On Thursday, Jordan Road School teachers were permitted to enter the building to set up their classrooms, something they had been prohibited from doing because of the mold discovery.
“We’ve have been given clearance, and we’re all good to go,” Previti said.
Previti said despite the district’s best efforts and preventive methods, the mixture of humid weather and the fact that the buildings are old make them likely breeding grounds for mold.
During the summer, the district purchased 10 dehumidifiers at a cost of $18,000, as well as microbial ozone filters and humidity readers to mitigate the potential of a recurrence. Daily reviews of temperature and humidity are also being conducted, and every three weeks an engineer comes in to assess the situation, all of which will continue.
“We had three evaluations this summer, one around July 13, one on July 31, both of which were negative. Then, the second week of August the latest issue arose,” Previti said. “We’ve been fighting this since the beginning of July, and we’re staying on top of it, but when you have an old building and the rainiest season on record, it’s difficult.”
To combat the latest mold issue at Jordan Road School the district hired AllRisk, a mold remediation company, at a cost of $42,060.
Somers Point School District Business Administrator and Board Secretary Suzanne Keller said the district cannot be certain another occurrence will not arise, but she said the district is doing the best it can.
“All I can say is that we have made great attempts to prevent such an occurrence from happening this summer, and our staff will continue monitoring all school sites and maintaining a healthy work environment for both staff and students,” Keller said. ”As of this date we have received a clearance from our environmental consultant.”
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