After mold inspections, four of six South Jersey district schools reopen

Holly Glen School in Monroe Township is one of two mold-damaged schools in Monroe Township, New Jersey, that will remain closed. Students will be relocated.

Holly Glen School in Monroe Township is one of two mold-damaged schools in Monroe Township, New Jersey, that will remain closed. Students will be relocated. (Google Maps)

Classes are resuming at four of the six schools closed in Monroe Township in Gloucester County because of concerns over mold.

Four of the schools checked for mold were deemed acceptable for reopening, said Superintendent Charles Earling.

Students from Whitehall and Holly Glen elementary schools will be moved to other schools within the district after an inspection found widespread mold contamination in those buildings.

At community meetings last week, parents decried the district’s handling of a problem they said has spanned years.  Following the school inspections, they are calling for the results to be made public online.

David Saenz, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Education, said it’s the district’s responsibility to maintain its buildings.

“As far as education laws and regulations, mold is not specifically mentioned. But when there are hazardous situations that do come up, the regulations require the district take action to remediate those issues,” said Saenz.

Jennifer Lewis-Gallagher, who has two children in Monroe schools, said the district has been unorganized in its response to the closures.

“The number of robocalls that we as a community have received with changing information,” she said. “Parents have adjusted their schedules a number of times.”

Lewis-Gallagher said she has lost faith in the district and was offered a chance to move her children to another district through the N.J. choice program.

But, she said, that’s not the point. So she’s decided to run for the school board.

“For me, to take my children out of district doesn’t help address, shed light on, or remedy problems,” she said.

The district didn’t return a call for comment. An online petition calling for the removal of Earling and three school board members has more than 1,700 signatures.

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