East Pennsboro schools still closed due to mold

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EAST PENNSBORO TWP., Pa. -- No school again for students Thursday in the East Pennsboro Area School District in Cumberland County.

This comes after the high school and an elementary school dismissed early because of air quality issues related to mold.

The school district decided to close down all of its schools for at least three days due to air quality issues. Superintendent Jay Burkhart said mold was found inside the ceilings at the high school last week. But he said extra precautions weren't taken then because they were unsure if it was mold or just dirt.

"Over the past few weeks, we experienced record levels of humidity, and during that time these pipes sweat," Burkhart said.

The superintendent said the humidity dampened the insulation and mold formed. A similar mold was found in the elementary school.

Students from both schools were dismissed Tuesday after test results came back positive for mold.

Some parents voiced their concerns at a community meeting.

Holly Zimmerman, whose two children go to East Pennsboro Middle School, said, "I'm sad for the children. They went to school Monday, they were all excited for the school year and now there's no school. So now they have to get back in the swing of things again."

All the schools in the district are closed because the district is waiting for air quality test results to be returned. It will be a lengthy process to fix the mold issue in the high school.

Burkhart said, "Once this wrapping is removed it's going to take about a month to put the new one on. You cannot wrap a pipe that has moisture on it. Which means the air conditioning is going to be off."

That means students are going to have to put up with the heat.

Some parents think the district is taking the right action.

Holly Miller, whose kids go to the elementary and middle school, said, "We're just concerned for their health and well-being. They have little lungs and they're breathing and still growing. The school's done a good job in informing us. So we just hope it all works out well."

Burkhart said he hopes the schools are opened back up soon.

"I'm hopeful. I'm optimistic, and I'm sorry that it's been disruptive," he said.

Officials said they hope most of the schools will be open again by Friday. But the high school won't be open again until Monday at the earliest.

The superintendent said he doesn't know how the students will make up those missed days of school but hopes to know by Sept. 1 when he has a meeting with the board.