Recent high temperatures and humidity have caused mold to grow and spread inside several New Jersey schools, according to mold removal experts. Power outages due to summer storms makes the problem even worse, says Servpro, a mold mitigation and remediation company.
All three schools in the Somers Point School District are closed indefinitely due to mold and four other districts in South Jersey are dealing with mold problems of their own.
Somers Point Superintendent of Schools, Jeffery Miller, posted a statement on the district's website saying evidence of mold has been found in all of the district's school buildings, cleanup is underway but the schools will not open next week. Miller says he is meeting daily with environmentalists and contractors and as he gets new information, he'll pass it along to parents.
The start of classes has been delayed in two other Atlantic County schools, Northfield Community School and Weymouth Township School, until early next week because of mold.
Weymouth Township School Superintendent Donna Van Horn told NBC10 the district's older air conditioning until keeps the building cool, but could not keep up with all of the moisture.
In Cape May County, remediation workers are busy removing mold at Ocean City High School. The school opened Thursday but was closed Friday after mold was discovered in the cafeteria. District officials say they hope to reopen the school on Monday.
Manchester Township school officials say the district's middle school will be shuttered for several months after mold was found in August on the building's first floor. Classes for the more than 700 students attending the middle school are being held at the district's high school until the cleanup work is completed. Officials say high school students have classes from 7 a.m. to noon, while the middle school students attend classes from noon to 5 p.m.
Officials for all the affected schools say the health of students and staff is their number one priority.
According to the Department of Environmental Protection, mold produces spores that float through the air and can sometimes cause health problems. People who are allergic to mold may get watery eyes, runny or stuffed noses, itching, headaches and may have difficulty breathing. Mold can also trigger asthma attacks, according to the DEP.