A North Carolina school system is again delaying the start of classes due to toxic mold in at least 25 of its 37 schools.
The Alamance-Burlington School System said Saturday that schools are now scheduled to open on Sept. 11.
“We sincerely apologize for the disruption that this decision will cause for our ABSS families and staff,” Les Atkins, public information officer for the school system, said in a news release on Facebook.
Classes were to begin in August but were previously delayed until Sept. 5. District officials said they further delayed the start of school “due to the recent discovery of toxigenic mold in more schools since Friday and tests revealing the possibility of more toxigenic mold at other campuses,” Atkins said.
“We understand that this delay is inconvenient,” Atkins wrote. “However, with more than 25 schools now impacted, the health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority.”
Officials checked all schools for mold and air quality after discovering the toxin in one school, Atkins said.
Alamance County commissioners allowed the system to reallocate nearly $17 million to address the issue, he said.
The system hired professional remediation experts trained to remove the mold.
“They will thoroughly clean all affected materials and HVAC systems following strict remediation procedures,” according to the school system statement.
“After this deep cleaning, a third party industrial hygienist will test the air quality to certify the buildings are safe for re-occupancy,” officials said. “We believe this brief postponement is necessary to open schools under safe conditions.”
Teachers will be given time before opening day to set up their classrooms on Sept. 8.
The district may adjust the school calendar in ways to be announced to keep spring break intact, officials said.
On Monday, Sept. 4, food sites will be announced for students who receive free/reduced lunch to get meals during the delay.
“We appreciate your patience and understanding during this challenging time,” district officials said in the statement. “We look forward to welcoming students back on September 11!”
The district created a mold remediation dashboard on its website.