DEEP RIVER, Conn. (WTNH) — John Winthrop Middle School will remain closed while mold is removed, the board of education decided during a special meeting on Wednesday.
Employees and students were relocated last month when mold was found in the building and an indoor air quality report was conducted.
Students have been taking classes at the Valley Regional High School, where two hallways were cleared for the middle school students to use.
The above video is from the 12 p.m. newscast on 10/4/2023.
“The juniors and seniors had to clear their lockers and we carry our backpacks around the school,” high school junior Sophia Bonanno said.
The school is expected to be closed for a few months.
Since the mold was discovered the district has been working with the Connecticut River Area Health District and environmental professionals to address the issue.
Pictures presented by a mold expert at a special board of education meeting Wednesday night showed the severity of the mold problem.
Black mold was seen on several surfaces and sampling showed airborne mold was detected in 21 out of the 72 areas that were tested.
“We were finding classrooms with very high levels of humidity. I mean condensation on surface areas, condensation on walls,” Deep River Public Schools Superintendent Brian White said.
Parents, teachers and other staff aired their concerns at the Deep River Board of Education meeting.
“It’s just sometimes hard to see the board sometimes in the library because peoples’ heads are in the way, little inconveniences like that,” high school junior Sophia Bonanno said.
Parents and students said the conditions at the high school are interfering with concentration in the classroom.
“Having classrooms in the hallway make it nearly impossible for her to concentrate,” said parent Sue Strecker.
The superintendent is working with teachers to discuss possible options which may include portable classrooms.
Another Special Board of Education meeting is planned for next Wednesday when a new update on the situation is expected.
A lengthy cleanup will be conducted to get rid of the mold and health officials are working on finding the root of the problem, which could be the HVAC system, officials said.
The next Board Of Education meeting to discuss the mold will take place on Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. at the Valley Regional High School library.