Seven classrooms in West Milford needed mold removal before first day of school

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Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Alex Anemone, notified families and staff of Marshall Hill Elementary School on Aug. 20 that mold was identified in multiple classrooms in the upper wing of the school during routine annual summer cleaning.

Anemone stated that professional outside consultants and remediators were contracted to evaluate and address the problem prior to the first reporting day of school; which was Sept. 4 for staff, and Sept. 6 for students.

What happened?According to Anemone, an inspection of the classrooms was performed by EnviroVision Consultants, Inc.

“The report indicated that seven classrooms (rooms 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28) contained mold,” he said. It was specifically noted that “... the fungal spore species stachybotrys (often referred to as toxic black mold) was not detected on any of the samples collected either from the air or on surface swabs.”

The cause of the problem was not identified by Anemone in the notification, but recent published news reports have identified similar issues in other school districts around the state — which were reported to have been caused by excessive humidity due to recent weather conditions and failure of dehumidifying system equipment.

Plan of ActionBased on the inspection report provided by the consultant company, the West Milford School District contracted with Greenwood Abatement Consultants to perform the mold remediation. Anemone stated, “The scope of this work includes, but is not limited to:

Installation of two poly separation barriers at the end of each hallway

Installation of air-scrubbing equipment in each classroom

Installation air-fogging equipment in each classroom

Wet wipe all areas with “shockwave” mold killer or similar

Removal and disposal of all paper items and fabric seating”.

Anemone assured the primary stakeholders that the classrooms were scheduled to be ready for the first day of school.

Marshall Hill receives the 'all clear'Marshall Hill families received a follow up notification from Anemone on Aug. 30 stating the remediation was completed, and it was confirmed safe for staff and students to enter all seven classrooms.

Anemone also provided the following information directly from the post-remediation report received by the district:

“Air-O-Cell sampling was performed to check for airborne fungal (mold) spores and other airborne particulates," Anemone reported. "Additionally, outdoor and indoor background reference samples were collected for comparison purposes. Air-O-Cell samples were collected and analyzed using the manufacturer’s procedures and guidelines. All samples were submitted to EMSL Analytical, Inc.’s laboratories in Manhattan, New York for analysis ...Various instruments were used to assist in the evaluation including: temperature meter, high volume pump, microbial cassettes, etc. ... The fungal spore type 'stachybotrys' (toxic black mold) was not detected in any of the samples from inside the building or outside the building.”

Anemone encouraged anyone with remaining questions about the issue to contact him directly.

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