McKinley School Students Starting the School Year Elsewhere Due to Lingering Mold

Sep 05, 2018
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Students at McKinley School in Manahawkin started the new school year on Wednesday, Sept. 5, but for this week they will attend class elsewhere because of an ongoing effort to clear airborne mold spores in several McKinley classrooms, Superintendent George Chidiac said.

After alerting students, parents and staff about several instances of isolated mold outbreaks within the building last week, Chidiac said Monday that while the initial removal of the mold and cleanup effort to sanitize the affected classrooms had been completed, testing to determine whether the classrooms were usable came back negative.

“Some classrooms still have airborne mold that did not meet clearance standards,” Chidiac said. “The company we use for this kind of problem, Indoor Air Technologies, has air-scrubbers they’re using to clear it up through Thursday, and we’re going to have another round of testing done on Friday.”

Chidiac said if testing determines the classrooms are safe to use, McKinley third- and fourth-grade students will be in their normal classrooms for the start of next week’s full-day sessions. This week, all of Stafford’s school days are half-day sessions. For the time being, McKinley students will be in the connector wing between the McKinley and Intermediate buildings as well as several classrooms on the Intermediate side.

If the classrooms are not deemed usable over the weekend, McKinley students will continue with the setup devised for this week. Initially, school officials had thought McKinley’s third-graders would be bused to Ocean Acres School and the fourth-graders would start the year in the Intermediate building.

“We decided not to do that because it would have messed up the entire busing and class schedule for those schools,” Chidiac said. “As we have it set up now, the schedules all can remain the same and the only inconvenience is that the McKinley students and teachers will not be in their home classrooms for the time being.

“Hopefully, this won’t go beyond Friday. But if we have to keep it this way for longer, we can do that without affecting the entire district.”

Chidiac said those responsible for the cleanup efforts have ensured him that they will do all they can do to rectify the problems as fast as possible.

“I’ve made it clear that this has to be resolved and we need all hands on deck to get this problem out of the way,” he said. “So, I’m hoping that, by Monday, everything will be all right and we’ll operate as normal for next week.”

Chidiac is expecting to provide further updates before Monday as he continues to monitor the progress and receive the results of testing.

David Biggy

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