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Announcement!

MOMS To Remain Closed For Remediation

(Guidelines from principal are below)

 

September 14, 2018

Dear Mount Olive Middle School Parents/Guardians:

I am writing to update you regarding the Mount Olive Middle School building. As previously communicated late last week, staff noticed what appeared to be mold in two classrooms and in the auditorium.  Out of an abundance of caution, we immediately contacted our environmental consultants who performed testing.  

District and building officials have been working expeditiously with environmental engineers, our district architects and township officials to address the situation.  Air quality testing for the entire middle school was performed and results were returned to us late in the evening, Wednesday, September 12, 2018. On Thursday morning, our environmental consultants met with us first thing in the morning to discuss the outcome of the testing and recommendations for remediation. The testing showed high levels of aspergillus/penicillium-like mold, which is non-life threatening, but may cause respiratory issues throughout the building.   

At this time, a decision has been made, in consultation with our environmental consultants, to keep the middle school closed in order to protect the safety and welfare of our children and staff. Given the amount of remediation that is necessary, the number of schools in the State that are facing similar issues and the specialized contractors needed to properly handle this type of environmental concern, it is anticipated that the closure may take up to 4 weeks. We are working with our environmental group to bring in as many specialized contractors so that we can reopen the building as quickly as possible. Work will be ongoing seven days a week, until the project is finished and we receive verification from our environmental consultants that the entire building is remediated and safe to re-occupy.   

Therefore, Mount Olive Middle School students will continue to attend half day sessions (8 a.m. – 12 noon) at the Mount Olive High School location until further notice.  Our teachers will be using technology and Google classroom to work with students beyond the physical hours that they are located at the high school. We ask for your support in working with your children to ensure that assignments and instruction are completed online beyond the half day. 

Our middle school and high school building administrators have been working for the past several days to increase space for the middle school students at the high school, developing a new master schedule, while taking into account individual student needs to provide meaningful instruction. More information about the middle school schedule will be forthcoming from Mr. Robinson later today.

Students will continue to be picked up on their normal bus routes and will be transported to the high school from the hours of 8 a.m. to 12 noon. Students who normally walk to school will be picked up at Mount Olive Middle School from 7:45 a.m. to 7:55 a.m., transported to the high school and returned to the middle school at the end of the day so they can walk home.  AlphaBest, our childcare provider, will be making alternate arrangements for after school care and will be contacting families directly.   

The school district continues to work with township officials and the Mount Olive Police Department to ensure that we have met all fire, safety and occupancy requirements of the high school building. Safety and security procedures, evacuation drills, additional telephones, technology, internet access hubs, transportation and athletic schedules are being adjusted and mobilized throughout the weekend to ensure that we provide students with as close to the same level of instruction and activities that they would have if they were still physically located at the middle school. I will keep you updated on the status of the middle school as the remediation and clean-up process continues. 

I want to acknowledge the difficulty of this decision and recognize the inconvenience that this will cause. However, as the Acting Superintendent, I believe it is the right decision to protect our children and staff. It is imperative that we take all necessary precautions to protect the middle school community, while putting a contingency plan in place for unimpeded and ongoing instruction. Additionally, this alleviates the need to take away winter/spring vacations and/or extending the school year.  

Thank you for your understanding.  It is very unfortunate that we are in this situation, but you have my commitment that we will do our best to make sure that student education is not adversely affected by this problem. 

Very truly yours,

Susan M. Breton

Acting Superintendent 



Shortened Day Guidelines

Dear Mount Olive Middle School Community,

In order to maintain the health and wellness of our students and staff, it has been determined that Mount Olive Middle School will remain closed until further notice for the purpose of cleaning and remediation. 

In light of this fact, our students will continue to report to the high school for half-day sessions. Building level administration has worked diligently with the high school to craft a modified schedule that facilitates smaller student groups. This, in turn, will ensure that students’ days are academically focused. Students will be spending time with their normal teachers, and they’ll participate in learning opportunities that are differentiated based upon academic level and need. 1:1 technology has been secured to aid in the delivery of instruction. We have also worked to ensure that the needs of our students who receive special services are being met.

We will continue to run the schedule we have been running through Monday, with the new schedule set to begin on Tuesday. We know that communication is key, and we will share the ins and outs of our new schedule on Monday with your children and their teachers, so that all have an opportunity to prepare for the change.  

Student safety during this time is paramount. To that end, we have a plan in place to maintain the well-being of our students, and I’ve personally met with a wide array of stakeholders on this front. We have worked with our District architect to ensure proper egress for our students and we have drafted a security plan for our drills and emergency procedures. It has also been determined that students will not pass class to class at the same time as the high schoolers, and students will always remain with an adult during their time in the high school. To me, this is the most important aspect of the plan, and I hope it brings comfort to our parent community.

Below, you will find logistical information to help you to prepare your child for school:

• Each school day will run from 8 a.m. until 12 noon.

• District buses will transport students to and from the high school via students’ normal bus stops and pickup times. Walkers should still walk to MOMS, arriving no earlier than 7:45 a.m. and no later than 7:55 a.m. District buses will then transport our walkers to the high school. At the conclusion of the school day, buses will then transport walkers back to MOMS, at which point they will walk home.  A crossing guard has been made available for this purpose. 

• Students may bring their backpacks, as well as a small snack. We ask you to pack as lightly as possible.

• Please have your child wear footwear that is appropriate for physical activity, as this will be a component of their day.

• Please ensure that your child completes his or her assignments daily, as some will need to be completed outside of the hours that we are present at school.  Many teachers will be utilizing a hybrid learning model, meaning that they will be relying on students’ completion of assignments via Google Classroom.

• We will continue fall sports next week. Further information will be shared with student athletes.

• All nursing, counseling, and security services will still be in effect during this time.  

I realize that this situation is an unprecedented one, and we will have to lean on one another as a school community in order to continue to do what’s right by our children. I am your principal, and I am here for you. Please direct any questions to me at mrobinson@mtoliveboe.org.

Thank you for your continued support. I consider myself very lucky to be able to lead and serve Mount Olive Middle School’s students, families, and staff members.

In partnership,

  

Matt Robinson

Principal

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Mt. Olive Board of Education
227 US Highway 206, Suite 10
Flanders, New Jersey 07836
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Phone: 973.691.4000 Fax: 973.691.4022

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