RNJ News Department

Aspergillus Penicillin, fungi and spore activity found in 2 Hatchery Hill School classrooms

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) – Air quality samples in two classrooms at Hatchery Hill Elementary School, located on Fifth Ave, came back higher than usual for Aspergillus Penicillin, fungi and spore activity but does not pose a health concern to our students and staff,  according to Superintendent of Schools David C. Mango.

In light of the recent discovery of high levels of Aspergillus Penicillin, fungi and spore activity at the Willow Grove School, the District, in an abundance of caution, has requested that the outside environmental company, RK Environmental, also conduct air quality samples in all of the District’s schools, Mango said.

“We would rather be proactive than reactive, and want to provide as much assurance as possible to our staff, students, parents and the community at large that our other buildings do not have similar issues,” Mango said.

In that regard, this past Saturday, seventeen various classrooms and locations within the Hatchery Hill Elementary School were tested, and this morning, the District has received the preliminary results from those air quality samplings.  Based on those preliminary results, RK Environmental has concluded that only two of the seventeen classrooms and locations tested came back with higher than usual Aspergillus Penicillin, fungi and spore activity; however, they point out that the levels at Hatchery Hill were approximately ten times lower than the results that were found at the Willow Grove School, Mango said.

Additionally, RK reported to us that four classrooms were found to have as many outside allergens inside as were tested outside, which was the result of classroom windows being left opened due to our latest heat wave and vegetation overgrowth surrounding unit ventilators on the outside of the building, Mango said.

Based on those findings, RK Environmental has assured us that this is not an emergency issue and does not pose a health concern to our students and staff.  Nevertheless, both the Warren County Health Department and the Warren County Office of Education has been apprised of these preliminary results and our intended plan of action in response to those findings, Mango said.

Going forward, the District will look to remediate the two classrooms that were found to have higher than usual Aspergillus Penicillin, fungi and spore activity, and will also air scrub the four additional classrooms that were found to have higher than normal levels of outside allergens present inside.  In addition, our maintenance staff will begin the process of removing vegetation overgrowth and either replace and/or service the existing unit ventilators, Mango said.

Further, although we were informed that no classroom needs to be relocated at this time, please know that as a precautionary and proactive measure, we are relocating the students and staff from Room C103 since it had higher than normal levels of Aspergillus Penicillin, fungi and spore activity.  This classroom will be moved to another room in the building and instruction will take place as usual until the remediation process for that room is complete, Mango said.

“I thank you in advance for your patience, trust and cooperation at this time,” Mango said.

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By: Jay Edwards Follow on Twitter | Like on Facebook