15 Sep 2014
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OCHS to Open on Monday Amid Mold Cleanup

The auditorium, art and music rooms and some classrooms at Ocean City High School are being cleared of mold.

OCHS to Open on Monday Amid Mold Cleanup

As of 9 p.m. Sunday, plans to reopen to students faculty on Monday, Sept. 10.

The school was closed on Friday as environmental crews cleaned parts of the school after the discovery of mold. The school had opened for the first day of classes on Thursday, Sept. 6, but prevented students from entering the parts of the school where mold was found — a set of classrooms, including art and music rooms, and the school auditorium.

A note on the district website says:

"Ocean City High School will be open 9/10/12 for all students and staff."

Superintendent Kathleen Taylor said last week that the school district's environmental engineer conducted surface and air-quality tests, an environmental professional was hired to clean the affected areas, and the school followed guidelines established by the Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health Program (PEOSH).

Mold can cause skin and respiratory irritations for many people, and can lead to more serious medical issues for people who are allergic to it.

Schools calendars in Somers Point, Northfield and Weymouth Township have also been delayed for mold removal.

The district website includes the following question-and-answer information:

  1. Is the High School safe for students and staff? Yes
  2. What is the extent of the mold issue in the school? Commonly found mold has been found in varying degrees in a number of classrooms in the school and in the auditorium.  The District is addressing even the most minor amounts of mold found in order to be proactive and to prevent any future problems.
  3. Why is there a mold problem? Commonly found mold is present in the outdoor air in varying concentrations dependent upon the season.  The commonly found mold in the school was due to the very recent extremely high humidity.  Most of that humid air tends to became trapped in areas where there was little circulation, such as closed cabinets, underside of tables and closets.
  4. Has there been any mold exposure to the children and teachers in the school? While there was visible common mold found in the High School, this mold did not exist on all surfaces. The entire school was inspected, room by room, for mold by a professional environmental consultant.  Rooms/spaces affected have received remediation treatments and were tested for air and surface samples.
  5. How is the mold issue being corrected? A qualified contractor is cleaning and remediating the school.  The remediation consists of vacuuming each of the surfaces identified in the report, a wet wash with a sporicide (a disinfectant that removes mold spores) and then a second vacuuming. During the clean up, large air scrubbing machines were employed in each room to ensure that and mold spores that become airborne are filtered out of the air. 
  6. How will you determine that there is no longer any mold in the rooms? Each room that was worked on was also visually inspected to ensure there is no longer visible mold.  Air sampling had been conducted as well as surface sampling to ensure that even though there is no visible mold, no microscopic mold exists on surfaces or in the air.
  7. What is the schedule for the remediation? The cleaning process started on Wednesday, September 6th and continued through the weekend. The classrooms and cafeteria were first to be cleaned and then the auditorium.  The results are acceptable and the rooms will be opened Monday.  The auditorium will still be closed because it’s a much larger space and will take longer to clean.

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