Mold pushes back start date at Smoketown Elementary, causes daily routine changes

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EAST LAMPETER TWP., LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- Students at Smoketown Elementary School off Old Philadelphia Pike in Lancaster County were expected to be back in class this coming Tuesday, but a mold problem has pushed their start date back.

The mold is also going to impact the school's day-to-day operations.

School officials say the mold has spread to areas on the first and second floor of Smoketown Elementary.

In addition to starting later than the rest of Conestoga Valley School District, a number of the 700 students who learn there will see changes to their daily routines.

"During our routine summer inspection, we noticed some black on the tiles in Smoketown," said Dr. Dave Zuilkowski, the superintendent.

Custodians discovered the mold a little over a week before the start of the school year, which was set for August 21St.

"With so much humidity, record setting humidity, coupled with a old pipe system, we have cold water pipe surrounded by insulation, became saturated, mold developed and dripped on ceiling tiles, and that's where it continued to spread," added Zuilkowski.

School will now begin August 23rd.

In the meantime, Paul Davis Restoration is working to clean it up.

Just because kids will be back in class doesn't mean the building will be ready to go.

Fourth grade classrooms have been heavily impacted by the mold.

Because of that, some have been moved to Brownstown and J.E Fritz Elementary Schools.

Yellow areas, which includes the school's office, some hallways, and the third grade rooms may not be ready to go until September.

Until then, all of the third grade will have class in the gym, separated by dividers, and morning announcements will not occur.

Parents we caught up with feel slightly concerned about the health of students.

"That's not good. Mold can cause a lot of issues for kids," said Rachel Menditto, a parent within the district.

"Coming from the HVAC industry, it's a big deal! They shut down schools!" said Kyle Hoffman, a parent.

The superintendent says safety is a top priority, and parents won't have to worry about the elementary school for too much longer.

"We're also in the process of building a new middle school, and we're going to be moving out of Smoketown in the next four years," explained Zuilkowski.

Besides the schedule changes, students will be bussed in differently until the mold's all gone.

The superintendent says the plan is changing every day, and if parents are concerned or have a question, they should check the website,,  or call Smoketown Elementary at (717) 394-0555.

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