East Penn plans more school closures as mold cleanup costs deplete savings

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ENOLA, Pa. (WHTM) – It’s not the best way to start a new school year: all schools will be closed again Thursday in the East Pennsboro School District after a second day of closures Wednesday.

The district discovered mold issues in some of the buildings and decided to close the others to test air quality as a precaution.

After the second and third days of school were canceled for some students, the district is hoping to get all kids back in class by next week.

Refueling from a day of hide and seek with a cup of cold water at Adams-Ricci Park, 9-year-old Parma Ivanoff enjoyed her day off from school at East Penn.

“Enjoying the summer weather,” Cynthia Ivanoff, Parma’s grandmother, said with a laugh. She doesn’t mind the closure, either.

This is time she wouldn’t usually get with her granddaughter.

“Oh, it hasn’t been a hardship,” she said, “but I’m glad they found the problem before there were health risks.”

Administrators saw and smelled mold at the end of last week in the high school, and test results they got Tuesday morning showed high mold counts. They found similar mold in East Pennsboro Elementary and closed both schools for the rest of the day Tuesday.

“You know,” Ivanoff said, “sometimes things just happen overnight.”

“This was a very rapid development,” district assistant superintendent Greg Milbrand said Wednesday.

Milbrand said they didn’t find mold during a walkthrough of the high school a week and a half ago. They did at the end of the week on ceiling tiles and insulation surrounding pipes.

On Wednesday, cleanup crews worked at the elementary and high schools. The middle school and West Creek Hills Elementary were also closed for precautionary testing.

The entire district planned to stay closed Thursday and the high school at least until Monday, Milbrand said, while administrators pour hundreds of thousands of dollars from the capital reserve account – a special savings account for just this kind of project – into remediation.

“Currently, we have about $1.5 million in that account,” Milbrand said. “It’s going to deplete pretty quickly, I think, through this project.”

Parma and her grandma aren’t worried about that now. They’re enjoying the time until school reopens and the school year can get back on track.

“Hopefully, they’ll get it settled and get the kids back in school,” Cynthia Ivanoff said.

As for any necessary make-up days, the district is considering its options.Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download the ABC27 News App and the ABC27 Weather App for your phone and tablet.

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