PATERSON, NJ – Paterson Public Schools officials announced today that inspections of the district’s 22 temporary classroom units (TCUs) have concluded. State District Superintendent Eileen F. Shafer called for the inspections in September after black mold had been found in three of the four TCUs at Public School 1.
The 48 students in Public School 1’s Pre-K program underwent health screenings and were relocated to other locations with no interruption to their education.
Executive Director of Facilities Steve Morlino said that the inspections uncovered mold at one of the four TCUs at the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex. The 12 students who took classes there were immediately relocated to the auditorium’s stage in the main building. The mold has been rectified and the students have returned to the TCU.
Morlino added that the most prevalent issue found in the TCUs’ inspection was not black mold, but surface debris, discoloration and rust found on the supply and return air grills. The grills are in the process of being cleaned and painted, and the Facilities Department is currently investigating preventative measures to guard against mold and other contaminants in the TCUs ventilation systems, Morlino said.
Meanwhile, efforts to replace the four trailers at Public School 1 have hit a snag as many companies that supply TCUs have low inventories due to extremely high demand in the Carolinas following the recent severe weather. This is expected to delay the delivery of new TCUs to School 1 beyond the originally projected date of September 27, 2018. Paterson Public Schools Facilities Department officials are continuing the process of accepting bids from companies in an effort to minimize any delay in replacing the TCUs.
The 48 Pre-K students at Public School 1 will continue to attend school at alternate locations in Public School 1’s main building, Public School 26, and the 14th Avenue Early Learning Center.
“Our Facilities Department and our Public School 1 administrators are to be commended for their quick response to the problem and their ensuring that our students’ education has not been interrupted,” said Paterson State District Superintendent Eileen F. Shafer. “We will all work together to make sure we replace School 1’s trailers as quickly as we can.”
“Our students and teachers are working in safer environments, and that is always our top priority,” said Paterson Board of Education President Oshin Castillo. “I want to thank all of our professionals on our administrative team for addressing this problem quickly, and doing so without interfering with the education of Paterson’s youngest learners.”
Five of the district’s 22 TCUs are at Public School 1; four were used as classrooms before the mold was found and one is used for storage. One TCU is at S.T.A.R.S. Academy and is used as office space. Five TCUs are at Eastside High School, although only two are occupied. Two are at Public School 18, although only one is occupied. The three TCUs at Public School 3, the four TCUs at Public School 27, and two at the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex are all occupied.