Testing for mold at Bayville School and H&M Potter Elementary School will be conducted today, to ensure the Berkeley Township School District's students are learning in a safe environment, according to district Superintendent Dr. James D. Roselli.
Roselli told roughly 30 parents assembled for an information meeting at Berkeley Township Elementary School on Tuesday night that mold found at BTES and at Clara B. Worth Elementary School recently has been cleaned up and that air quality tests show mold levels are nonexistent.
But in response to one mother's continued questions about the status of Bayville and Potter, Roselli told the audience that the schools would be tested today. No visible evidence of mold has been seen at either school, however.
"School starts in two days," she said, noting that she is concerned because both of her sons have severe asthma.
"There is a 24-hour turnaround," Roselli said. "It will be done tomorrow (Wednesday). I'm going to make sure the company comes out and does testing."
In response to another mother's question about what will happen if mold is found in either school, Roselli said there are contingency plans in place to shift students to other schools if necessary.
"We have plans B, C, D and E," said Jeffrey Zito, the principal at Potter. But no details on those plans were offered or requested.
After the meeting, Roselli said testing will be completed and letters will go home to the parents of every student in the district informing them the testing has been completed and of the results.
"I want parents to say our schools are safe and that we've done everything to ensure the safety of our students," he said.
Roselli told parents the mold at BTES and at Clara B. Worth was identified by custodians. It was seen on hard surfaces in the first-floor instructional wings at BTES, he said, and in two kindergarten rooms at a couple of years ago, CBW Principal Daniel Prima said.
The Mold Doctor - a mold inspection and remediation company based in the Parlin section of Sayreville - handled the cleanup at the schools, Roselli said.
Air testing after the cleanup gave the schools a clean billing and did not show signs of mold, and Roselli said he shared the report with Dr. Norman Santo Domingo of Bayville. Roselli said Santo Domingo gave the report a positive response.
But the district has reached out to TTI Environmental of Moorestown, which handled the massive mold cleanup at the Cecil B. Collins Elementary School in Barnegat last year, to try to determine the cause of the mold, he said.
Two parents asked if there is or will be regular testing of the air for mold in the district, and Roselli responded that testing is conducted when there are visible signs of mold. When pressed he said, "It would be a definite part of what we're doing as a school district."
Berkeley isn't the only district where mold has been discovered this year. Manchester Middle School has been closed indefinitely while serious mold issues are dealt with, and the students will be attending classes at the high school on split sessions.
"I'm not looking to downplay this," Roselli said. "We are not downplaying this. I want to be accurate."