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East Pennsboro School District officials have unique idea to get kids back to school

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EAST PENNSBORO TWP., Pa. -- Students will soon be able to come back to East Pennsboro Area schools from an unintentionally extended summer break.

Superintendent Jay Burkhart announced at a meeting held at Eisenhower Elementary School that West Creek Hills and East Pennsboro Elementary Schools will reopen Tuesday. The East Pennsboro Middle School building will reopen Wednesday.

This comes after mold was discovered in the school buildings.

Air quality test results came back from the elementary and middle school buildings with no unusual level of mold in the buildings.

But the high school building may be closed for at least three weeks to re-insulate the pipes.

School district officials discussed an alternative schedule for middle and high school students.

Superintendent Jay Burkhart said, "It was our administrative team trying to get our students back into the school as soon as possible and we thought that this was the most effective way. And in our conversation with the Department of Education, they were supportive of this decision."

The middle and high school students will share the middle school building.

Their days will be split, with high school students attending from 7-11:30 a.m. And middle school students attending from noon to 4:15 p.m.

The bus pickup time for high school students will remain the same, but it will be for hours later for middle school students.

But some middle school parents are concerned for their children's safety.

Peter Ackroyd, the parent of a middle school student, said, "How do I make sure he gets on the bus and safety-wise who's watching these kids? Most parents are away during the day. All, I assume most are."

And some high school seniors think the district mismanaged the situation.

Troy said,  "I'm a little bit annoyed about the situation, how it was handled, how there's really no urgency to the issue. Especially about fact that we went to school on Monday because of pending test results and that put us in danger for some kids that have respiratory issues."

But the superintendent said he is thankful to parents and students for their patience.

Burkhart said, "We're all here for the same reason and I will say again that while not pleased, very supportive and looking forward to a very positive outcome."

High school team sports practices should not be affected by the alternative schedule. But, middle school practices and games may have to be pushed back farther in the afternoon and evening.

He said the graduation date for high school seniors will not change.

School officials said they will be taking extra precautions in the future to make sure this doesn't happen again.