Five-hundred-and-fifty students will be split up after a Monroe Township elementary school was shut down for months on Thursday due to mold.
“It did come as a surprise,” Jennifer Lewis-Gallagher, a parent in the school district, said.
Holly Glen Elementary School dismissed for the last time for months on Thursday to allow for remediation and repairs after mold was discovered covering ceiling tiles, lockers, and classrooms. The mold was confirmed by tests on Wednesday night.
Now, parents are concerned about how long the mold has been in the building and what risks it posed to their children.
“As a parent of two young daughters it is a huge concern of mine,” Lewis-Gallagher said.
Monroe Township superintendent Charles Earling said pre-k, kindergarten, and special needs students will go to Oak Knoll. First through third grade students will go to Radix Elementary, and fourth grade students will be accommodated in a wing in the high school, separated from high school students.
A meeting was held Thursday evening where parents could speak with educators and an environmental firm to dispel rumors and answer questions. But some parents say they left with even more questions.
Tameeka Williams, a parent in attendance, says her son was diagnosed with pneumonia after he started attending Holly Glen Elementary. Now, she says her son uses inhalers and a nebulizer.
“It’s been different degrees of mold,” Earling said. “But not severe mold. But, to us, if it’s there we want to get rid of it.”
At the meeting, Earling assured parents that administrators had contacted appropriate authorities to handle the mold.
For some parents, though, this is coming too late.
Roberta West says her son got sick at Holly Glen 20-years ago.
"My heart cries for them because my son got very, very sick when he was little when he was at the school," West said.
While Earling said Holly Glen will be ready for students to return in early 2018, parents are now calling for all schools in the district to be tested for mold.
Open houses at Monroe Township Public Schools that were set to take place Monday were cancelled due to ongoing Air Quality testing. An emergency board of education meeting will be held Monday at 7 p.m. at the Williamstown High School Theater.