News

Mold Disaster Causes Chaos In Manchester, N.J. School District

Middle School Will Be Closed For Months, Setting Up Split-Day At High School
Manchester Middle School

Mold inside the middle school in Manchester, N.J., will keep it closed for months, forcing students to split a 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. day at the high school. (Photo: CBS 2)

MANCHESTER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — As students prepare for a new school year, mold is forcing 700 kids out of their middle school.

The students are being shipped to the high school, which already houses more than 1,100 students. The district said no one has gotten sick, but parents are still upset. As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported Tuesday, this disaster is causing a major scheduling conflict.

Mold found inside several first-floor classrooms and the cafeteria has shut down this middle school in Manchester. The closure will have a ripple effect on the rest of the district because students will have to share the high school on a split session.

Some middle schoolers said they are nervous.

“It kind of feels awkward because it’s going to be a new school that you don’t know about,” Joshua Brown said.

There is a plan to keep middle schoolers separated from the older kids. High schoolers will attend classes from 7 a.m. until noon and middle schoolers will come in from noon to 5 p.m.

“Nice to sleep in,” one student said.

While he may be thrilled, some parents of younger students said they are not. They’ll have to pay extra money to a pre-school program at the YMCA.

“Why should we have to pay for something that’s their fault?” parent Lisa La Plica said. “It’s a health issue, too, because you have upper respiratory infections, a lot allergies and different things that stem from mold.”

“The mold found is not dangerous. It’s the kind found outside of school, but obviously levels were a concern,” schools superintendent David Trethaway said.

For now, the school is locked up. The mold was discovered earlier this month in the classrooms. District officials said the clean-up could take months.

“We have extensive carpeting in our school. In fact, our gym floor is actually all carpeting. That’s a contributor from what I understand. We had a power outage from the storm. Our air conditioning went down,” Trethaway said.

For one thing, all the carpeting will go. The cost of clean-up, though, is up in the air, but the superintendent said the district has a $1 million insurance plan that should cover it.

The district has held a number of informational meetings for parents. Among the things they’ve been told, the school sharing won’t affect extra-curricular activities.

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