NJ school closed after mold found

Students forced to attend classes elsewhere

WABC By Art McFarland

- A school in New Jersey is infested with mold and a teacher there says it's made him sick.

The elementary school closed its doors to students today, forcing them to attend class elsewhere.

Air tests show a high presence of mold in the Livingston Avenue School in Cranford, New Jersey.

Past history has taught us that mold can lead to respiratory problems and can aggravate problems like bronchitis. But that is what apparently happened with one teacher at the Livingston School. And so, school officials have shut the school down before anyone else comes down with respiratory symptoms.

Only staff members were allowed inside the school today, and only to pick up teaching materials.

Lawrence Feinsod, PhD, Cranford Schools Superintendent: "I do not want our teachers and students in the facility when I learned that the mold levels were so high."

Our cameras were not allowed inside the school. Mold tests, which were apparently completed yesterday, showed high levels of mold in the school's main office, a hallway near the main office, in the library and in the gym.

"I just hope none of the kids health has been affected," a parent said.

But Livingston School teacher Dennis Connelly says he has been sick since the end of last month, and says he is now recovering and visited his doctor just today.

"And he said today this is the sickest I have ever been under his treatment and he directly links it to the mold in the classroom," Connelly said.

Connelly is president of the Cranford Teachers Union, which has received complaints of mold and respiratory problems at other schools in the district.

"I'd advise teachers in other buildings ... with similar conditions to please advise the administration."

The school district has hired private firms to do further testing in schools, and to solve any mold problems.

Meanwhile, this was an unexpected holiday for students like the Halpin brothers.

"I need a day off sometimes ... a lot of times I need a day off, ya know?" student Brendan Halpin said.

The Livingston School is for grades 3, 4 and 5, and those students will attend classes elsewhere for weeks.