OLD BRIDGE — Students of Walter M. Schirra Elementary School were not able to begin the school year with the rest of the district due to the discovery of mold in the building.

According to NJ.com, the issue was uncovered several days ago and remediation efforts were launched, but recent assessments determined that the air quality did not meet necessary standards for live instruction.

In the meantime, the NJ.com report says, the district was denied its request with the New Jersey Department of Education to begin the school year remotely because of the damage.

Media outlets report that the district hopes to get the all-clear for the elementary school by Monday. But if that can't happen, students may be steered to a different location in the district until the problem is solved.

Staff reportedly saw no mold in the week beginning Aug. 23, when teachers came in to set up their classrooms. But, according to NJ.com, an employee on Aug. 31 "reported clear signs of mold on desks and hard surfaces." The district attributes the mold to a wet August — New Jersey was hit a few times by rain from tropical systems during the month, and was pounded again on Sept. 1 by the remnants of Ida.

Superintendent Dave Cittadino told NJ.com that no other schools in the district showed evidence of mold.

Mold delayed the start of the 2021-22 year for the entire public district in Middletown. The first day was pushed back from Sept. 8 to Sept. 13.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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