Berlin Borough School District Superintendent Joseph Campisi said the district does air quality tests for a multitude of factors periodically throughout the year. After completing a test in late August, the district received the results from the Camden County Department of Public Safety on Friday, Sept. 6.
Upon receiving the results, Campisi says the district moved quickly to address the situation and find alternate rooms for the mix of kindergarten, second- and fourth-grade classes to move into while the rooms were cleaned.
“The test showed some elevated levels, so we relocated the students and the teachers and remediated the rooms,” said Campisi in an interview with The Sun following the cleaning of the rooms. “We used air scrubbers and followed protocols that the [Department of Public Safety] recommends in such a situation.”
After receiving the results Friday, Campisi says the classrooms showing elevated levels of spores were “sealed off” by Saturday morning so the cleaning could take place, as also stated in the release on the school’s website.
After the cleaning was completed, the rooms remained sealed off Monday, with the students and teachers in the alternate rooms, as the district awaited test results on the remediated rooms. Following the retesting of the rooms, which showed a drop in the elevated fungal spore levels, the approximately 80 students returned to their normal classrooms the following day on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
“Honestly, a lot of the situation was more precautionary than anything,” said Campisi. “When we first learned of the original test results, we made the teachers aware of the situation and relocated them.”
Furthermore, Campisi says he and Elementary School Principal Phil Silva contacted the parents and guardians of the students in the four classrooms to make them aware of the situation and the precautions the school was taking moving forward.
Moving forward, Campisi says the school will continue to monitor air quality. According to Campisi, humid times of the year, he says, will typically result in the highest number of spores in testing air quality around schools.
“As we approach those times of the year that become more humid, we’ll look to do more air quality testing,” said Campisi. “We will also take a look at our long-range facilities plan to take a look at how we test in the future, that way we can be proactive and not reactive.
Results from the retest can be found on the school’s website at www.bcsberlin.org under the “Headlines and News” section.