Millburn District School officials received the result of a study on Saturday that determined that the indoor air quality at the Middle School is acceptable, despite complaints by a teacher that she was exposed to mold there.
Superintendent Dr. James Crisfield told members of the Board of Education at Tuesday’s meeting, and sent a letter stating the same home to parents late Tuesday after the power came back at the district buildings.
“First things first: We do NOT have a mold epidemic at Millburn Middle School, nor are there other (indoor air quality) concerns that are out of the ordinary,” Crisfield said in both the letter and at the meeting. “Any rumors to the contrary are false and not helping us stay focused on our mission.”
One employee complained of mold in December and again in March and the district had the school checked out by experts and both times the indoor air quality was in the “normal and acceptable” range, Crisfield said.
There was also an anonymous complaint made to the Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health agency (basically OSHA for public employees) this month and again, Crisfield said, the results were “similarly within normal tolerances.”
“We have submitted that information to PEOSH and are awaiting official word as to that body’s disposition of the complaint,” he said.
The employee who complained to the school district says she has been tested by a leading mold specialist and tested positive for mold exposure and adult onset asthma, which is rare. She sent students’ parents an email about her diagnosis because, she said, she felt "a moral obligation" to let parents know in case any of their children had been sick.
She also said she tested positive for exposure for two of three kinds of mold she said was found at the school.
One thing that the studies showed was that there are some roof leaks, which the district will take care of as part of its on the auditorium at the Middle School and is putting on a new roof as well.
The experts did make cleaning and maintenance recommendations and school employees have also done some clean up of the area based on those earlier investigations, he said.
“It doesn’t take a lot of forensics to know we have leaks,” he said. “But I am happy to report we will take care of that this summer with the renovations.”