Several rooms at Morristown High School have been disinfected and reopened after mold was discovered earlier this month, a spokesperson for the Morris School District said on Friday.
Soon after school started on Sept. 9, “a small amount of mold” was found on doors and some ceiling tiles on the ground level, in the radio/ TV station and classroom (rooms 161 and 163), the band room and the teachers’ cafeteria, said Mary Donohoe.
Those areas were closed and classes relocated while the situation was addressed, Mary said. All had been reopened as of Friday, she said.
Although air sampling and inspections found “acceptable” air quality on Sept. 12, “students were not allowed back into the rooms until all areas had been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected,” she said.
“A second round of air samples were taken after cleaning and disinfecting was complete and those samples, also, were clear,” she said.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, molds are…
…fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth.
People who are sensitive to molds can experience “nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation,” the CDC says. More severe reactions are possible for those with serious allergies, or among workers exposed to large amounts of molds; a 2004 study linked indoor exposure with respiratory problems in otherwise healthy people, according to the CDC.
No symptoms were reported at the school, Mary said. The rooms were closed immediately when the mold was discovered, and the testing company found the air quality was acceptable even before the cleanup began, she said.
Experts told school officials that the mold could have resulted from extreme heat and humidity at the end of the summer. While no further problems are expected during cooler weather, “we will continue to monitor it,” Mary said.
Sophomore Abby Semple, whose video Passing Time won the People’s Choice award at this summer’s MorristownGreen.com Film Festival, said students were growing anxious this week to return to the school’s WJSV studio facilities.
They were taking broadcasting classes in the library and eating lunches in a hallway outside the studio, while the Colonial Corner video program, radio shows and morning announcements all were on hold, she said.
“Luckily, it happened in the beginning of the year so very few people were in the middle of projects,” said Abby, noting she generally spends 20 hours a week in the studio. “Usually this time of the year would be all brainstorming, so we will be back in the studio by the time it’s time to start filming and editing.”