HILLSBOROUGH, NJ — Work to remove mold inside Hillsborough High School continues.
At the Sept. 26 meeting, the Hillsborough Board of Education approved a transfer in the amount of $342,000 to pay for mold related bills incurred by the school district. This transfer total was based on estimated costs for analysis, determination, and remediation. The school is working with their insurance carrier and have filed a claim with them, according to Aiman Mahmoud, School Business Administrator.
A total of 11 classrooms, teacher work rooms, the video conference room in the library and auditorium were found to have issues with mold or air quality, according to a letter sent out to parents by Hillsborough High School Principal Karen Bingert.
Of those 11 rooms, eight have been cleaned and reopened as of Sept. 21. The auditorium is undergoing carpet removal and replacement and large scale air scrubbing and dehumidification due to the size of the room, Bingert stated.
More rooms are being tested as a precaution including the media center, a faculty workroom, several offices including Bingert's, along with 14 more classrooms. Although there is no evidence of any mold in those spaces.
"If a worry was expressed about any room, we are having it tested to be on the safe side," Bingert stated."There are no concerns from the environmental agency about the presence of students and staff in any of the spaces listed here so occupancy is permitted pending final results of the full testing of each area. Any identifiable concerns in a classroom, however, would result in a mandatory relocation."
Some rooms required students and staff to be relocated until the space could be verified to be within normal parameters.
Other areas have remained occupied at the occupant’s discretion.
"We have offered relocation to anyone who wants it," Bingert stated. "I have stayed put in my own office pending results, for example, while one or two others have chosen to move."
Types of mold identified include Cladosporium, Aspergillus/Penicillium-like spores, basidiospores, ascospores, small amounts of Aspergillus fumigatus and Aspergillus niger, and fungal propagules from the fungal genera Aspergillus and Penicillium, according to Michael McGuinness, the environmental specialist from RK.
Depending upon the specific test results, cleaning of the rooms can entail one or more of these methods:
The mold was originally found prior to the beginning of the 2016-17 school year and students began classes as work to remove the issues continued.
Parents were notified of the mold prior to school beginning.
"Trust us to do right by your child," Bingert stated. "We walk the same halls and sit in the same rooms with your children every day. We are doing everything possible to ensure that this matter is handled with the highest degree of proactivity, caution, and prudence since we take your children’s health and well-being as seriously as we take our own."