Some students in New Jersey district go remote, others change buildings due to mold

Thursday, September 21, 2023
Some NJ students go remote, others change buildings due to mold
Some students in New Jersey district go remote, others change buildings due to mold

LUMBERTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Students at a middle school in Burlington County, New Jersey will attend class remotely, while some students from a neighboring elementary school will switch buildings, because of mold problems.

Lumberton Middle School will go remote starting Thursday.

In a letter to Lumberton School District families, Superintendent Colleen Murray said no completion date has been set for the mold remediation. She said families should prepare for the possibility of two weeks of remote learning.

The middle school isn't the only impacted building.

Because of mold issues in the Bobby's Run Elementary School, students will attend classes in parts of the Lumberton Middle School building that aren't impacted by mold.

In total, 10 classrooms in the Bobby's Run school and 16 classrooms in the Lumberton Middle School were found to have mold.

Both schools started late Thursday to give students and staff time to prepare.

Superintendent Murray says a teacher recently noticed an odor in their classroom, so they brought crews in who detected mold.

"The first week of school there was a tremendous amount of humidity with the heat wave and that's what our assessors said is the cause of this," Murray explained.

She spoke to Action News about why it was important for elementary school students to continue learning in person.

"Our primary concern is safety, and our secondary concern is to make sure the kids have what they need educationally," Murray said. "We know that those younger students were much more impacted by the lack of socialization, so we wanted to make sure they stayed in school whenever possible as long as we were safe."

While mold remediation could take up to two weeks, Murray said the district could possibly phase students back into classrooms as they are cleared.

Murray suggested if parents think their child is suffering from any health issue related to the mold, they should speak with their family physician.

Stephanie Sezawich, whose daughter is an 8th grader at Lumberton Middle School, said she is concerned.

"I want to know what type of mold it is. What are the expected health concerns I have to worry about for my child?" Sezawich questioned.

The elementary and middle schools impacted are connected. Because of that, Sezawich questioned why all students aren't switching to virtual learning so the entire school can be cleaned.

"If they find more mold after cleaning these rooms, it's going to be longer," she said. "I would rather them just shut the entire thing down and scrub it down head to toe."

For a full list of things parents need to know, check this document from the Lumberton School District.