The Northfield Community School will not open until Sept. 21 due to ongoing mold issues, school officials announced Saturday night.
In a letter on the district’s website, Superintendent Janice DeCicco Fipp said the district has adopted a remediation plan for the safety of everyone who attends the combined elementary and middle school at New and Cedar Bridge roads.
The school was originally supposed to open Thursday, but that was delayed so the district could test an “area of concern” that was later found to be mold. Companies are continuing to inspect the building, and Fipp said the district hoped the inspection would be completed by midnight Saturday.
According to the letter, the mold began to appear in the past week.
“The mold growth in the school is a result of the extended period of high humidity and moisture that we have experienced this summer, particularly in the last several weeks,” Fipp wrote. “Without the school being occupied, the HVAC systems are not prompted to turn on as frequently as when the school is occupied. It can therefore not remove as much moisture as is being brought in from the outside. Normally, this would not be a problem, but with the extreme weather conditions and an unoccupied school, the systems were unable to keep up.”
Fipp previously told The Press of Atlantic City that the mold was mostly in a second-floor closet that holds student records. Additional possible mold had been found in a nearby lab closet.
Other local districts are also dealing with mold. District officials closed Ocean City High School on Friday after they discovered mold problems there were more widespread than previously thought. Superintendent Kathleen Taylor said she hoped to reopen the school Monday. Districts in Weymouth Township and Somers Point have delayed the starts of their school years due to mold.
Upper and Middle townships discovered mold in their schools but cleaned it before the school year started.
Somers Point Superintendent Jeffrey Miller said Saturday that contractors are still inspecting the district’s three buildings, and he hopes to meet with them Monday to determine a new opening date.
“They are working on all three schools seven days a week,” he said. “We hope to open as quickly as possible.”
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