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.

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.
OC4EVER September 08, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Dr. Taylor should take the blame for this one. She is ultimately the one in charge. The custodial staff works year round. They are not like teachers and work part time having summers off. Dr Taylor perhaps was too busy with the extra money she receives for administering the Sea Isle students all in the same work day. Why is she still employeed by Ocean City? Amonth ago it was a child-molesting ex cop under her watch and now mold. I suspect there will probably be more lawsuits. Thank you Dr. Taylor for raising my taxes.
vic September 09, 2012 at 03:41 AM
this year's school budget is exactly the same as last year's......there was no increase! the reason that your taxes went up is because the total assessed value of real estate in ocean city decreased, therefore the tax rate had to be increased just to raise the same amount of revenue as last year. that's not the school district nor dr. taylor's fault. i guess dr. taylor should be held responsible for the extremely high humidity that we have been experiencing this summer. should the superintendents in somers point, northfield and dennis township also be held responsible for the mold problems they are experiencing.
Mr. B September 09, 2012 at 03:55 AM
I don't think they should be held responsible for the mold problem, but I think they should be held responsible for not identifying the problem and then eliminating the problem in a timely manner. they had all summer to asses the situation and form a plan and execute it. Obviously, they waited to late to take action and thus having to close/delay school.
Robert McKenna, MIKE September 09, 2012 at 03:46 PM
For one of the very few times reading an OC Patch article, we are all, sort-of-kind-of... in agreement. This is a first!
marvinsmith September 11, 2012 at 09:32 AM
Mold cleanup is really very necessary for our good health and this article clearly explains this. Thanks for sharing your views through this article. mold remediation great neck - http://www.flooddamagecleanuplongisland.com/


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