After mold was discovered on doors, windows, desks, and even rubber toys inside an elementary school in Gloucester County, school officials closed the building Friday and reassigned the children to other facilities.
Holly Glen Elementary School in Williamstown, which has 537 students in kindergarten through grade four, is expected to be closed at least three weeks to be decontaminated.
Mold was detected in 10 areas, notably on doors, windows, vinyl floors, bookcases, blinds, desks, toys, a sandbox table, a toy case, a locker, and dropped ceilings and beams, according to the 16-page report by TTI Environmental Inc. of Moorestown. The firm said there were elevated levels of aspergillus/penicillium and cladosporium, and concluded the school was "impacted by mold/fungal proliferation."
At a school board meeting Thursday night, Earling said school officials had reported the mold to county and state authorities and hired the environmental consultant to do an assessment.
Earling said rumors of "black mold" in the school were untrue. In an interview with NBC10, he said the report showed "different degrees of mold, not severe mold,"
Parents at the meeting said they were angry that the school district had not tested for mold earlier.
Tameeka Williams said her son was "diagnosed out of the blue with pneumonia" and has been hospitalized several times. She said that he now uses inhalers and nebulizers.
"I feel like it could be too late if these levels are this high and we're just now finding out about it," Jordan Owens, another parent, said.
Still other parents said their children's doctors said their children were suffering from allergies, but that they now wonder whether the problems were triggered by the mold.
School officials said the nearly 50-year-old heating and air conditioning units at the school would be replaced.