Eastern York School District delays first day after mold found in middle school

Classes for Eastern York School District students will start late after mold was found in the middle school building.

A letter sent to parents and guardians Friday, Aug. 17, informed families that the start of the school year would be delayed for students, pending cleanup.

"I apologize for the short notice, but we have confirmed the need to delay the start of the school year in order to allow the District to bring in professionals to clean the building and ventilation systems prior to accepting staff and students," wrote superintendent Joseph Mancuso III.

The district will need time to restore the building and re-insulate the pipes, he wrote, so the closure could be anywhere from three to six weeks.

Until then, middle school students will be welcomed into other district schools so there will be no delay in their education.

The projected first day for all district students was pushed back to Monday, Aug. 27. School was originally slated to begin Wednesday, Aug. 22.

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Finding the mold: Mold was reported in the lower level of Eastern York Middle School Monday, Aug. 13, at which point the area was isolated and the administration told all employees to leave the building, the letter states.

Paul Davis Emergency Services, a mold cleanup and restoration company with a location in Lancaster County, arrived an hour later to assess the situation, and a team was authorized to begin drying out the rooms to bring humidity down.

Humidity levels had been at 80 percent, and as of Friday, Aug. 17, they were reduced to 50 percent, which is in a normal operating range, according to the letter.

Representatives from the company stated that it's difficult to keep a balance with the HVAC system in big buildings such as schools during the summer when high levels of humidity are more consistent, the letter states.

Those factors, as well as record amounts of rainfall, can contribute to condensation and other conditions conducive to mold growth, according to the letter.

York County endured heavy rains and flooding in late July.

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Cumberland County-based indoor environmental consulting firm Aether Assessments was brought in for third-party air-quality testing in the school, and the firm recommended a remediation plan from Paul Davis.

The firm performed air-quality tests in all other district buildings as well, but results had not been returned before the letter was sent out on Friday.

Plan for students: Students awaiting the opening of their building will be accommodated in other district schools in the interim:

  • Sixth grade: Canadochly Elementary School
  • Seventh grade: Wrightsville Elementary School
  • Eighth grade: Eastern York High School

All grades will be dropped off at the high school in the morning. Seventh- and eighth-graders will be transferred to the elementary schools and later dismissed at 2:05 p.m. to return to the high school.

Information sessions are available for parents who would like to learn more about the temporary plan: Tuesday, Aug. 21, at Canadochly Elementary School for sixth grade: Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Wrightsville Elementary School for seventh; and Thursday, Aug. 23, at Eastern York High School for eighth. The sessions start at 6 p.m.

"I want to assure you that the district is working diligently to remediate the situation and open EYMS as soon as possible," Mancuso wrote in the letter.

Updates will be released through the mail, district website, social media and Skyward (the district's notification system) alerts.