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NJ's Lumberton Middle School goes remote after mold found in 16 classrooms; Bobby's Run School delayed

Students shifted to remote learning after mold discovered at two South Jersey schools
Students shifted to remote learning after mold discovered at two South Jersey schools 02:06

LUMBERTON, N.J. (CBS) -- Two schools in a New Jersey district had to shuffle schedules and transition many students to online learning after mold was found in dozens of classrooms. Both schools in the Lumberton Township School District have made adjustments to allow the district and state health and education departments to remediate the mold.

Lumberton Middle School students shifted to remote learning and Bobby's Run Elementary School had a delayed opening Thursday.

A total of 26 classrooms tested positive for mold -- 10 rooms in Bobby's Run and 16 rooms in Lumberton Middle School.

"We've taken the teachers and students from the affected classrooms in Bobby's Run and we moved them to the unaffected classrooms in the middle school," Superintendent Colleen Murray said.

A letter from the district superintendent said Lumberton Middle School families should be prepared for as many as two weeks of remote learning. Middle school students' day started at 10 a.m. Thursday to give parents and students extra time to prepare.

"My biggest concern is I want to know what type of mold, what are the possible health concerns I have to worry about with my children," Stephanie Sezawich said.

Sezawich's daughter is in the 8th grade.

She is among the many parents who were notified Wednesday about the mold issues inside Lumberton Middle.

"We share the same air, they share the same heat, so if the mold has spores and if it's airborne it's going to go throughout the entire school even faster," Sezawich said.

Mold discovered at two school buildings in South Jersey; students transition to remote learning 02:38

Some classrooms in Bobby's Run School will be relocated to parts of Lumberton Middle School that aren't affected by the mold. Bobby's Run School opened on a two-hour delay.

"We took a really targeted safe response, we kept safety at the forefront of our minds," Murray said.

Superintendent Murray said things went fairly smoothly Thursday morning and the district is trying to be proactive.

"We had a teacher who noticed an odor," Murray said, "and so they reached out to us and we got the room tested right away and a couple of other rooms. And then, we retested again and we retested all the rooms and that's when we got more classrooms that need remediation."

Parents are being told these changes could last for about two weeks but Sezawich says she wants both schools closed completely until the mold remediation is finished.

"That's my child and I rather be inconvenienced with having to have my child home or a few weeks than risking an upper respiratory infection," she said.

We're told mold remediation began Wednesday afternoon and the superintendent says that a two-week timeline to have everyone back inside is realistic.

The district is also planning a community forum some time next week to help answer parents' questions about mold issues.

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