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Mold Forces Palmer Elementary to Change First Day of School

mold at old mill pond elementary

PALMER, Mass. (WGGB) — Old Mill Pond Elementary School has delayed start of school from August 28 to September 4, thanks to mold that was found growing in the classroom rugs all over the school.

Superintendent Thomas Charko told ABC40, “We take it very seriously. We’re very concerned about it and we do want to solve this problem.”

After finding the mold in mid-July, school officials initially tried professionally cleaning the rugs but that didn’t work. The rugs need to be replaced.

Charko explains, “What we didn’t realize until very recently is that it’s taking a lot longer to clear up than we originally thought.” He adds, “We want the health of the students to be number one and number two, we want the least amount of disruption to their school life.”

Some parents were going to the school to fill our paperwork for their kids and didn’t know about the mold issue or what they were going to do about it.

One parent at a playground with her children said she found out about it on social media and through news organizations. She also is concerned about her children’s health.

Kathy Auclair adds, “My kids have been diagnosed with mold allergies and they are sick every year a lot. Now, I’m linking it together.”

Her neighbor is struggling with daycare issues for that extra week and other parents have vacation plans they need to worry about but that’s not the most aggravating part for her because students may have to move to the middle or high school if the elementary school is not ready in time.

“My biggest issue is putting my 6-year-old in perhaps the high school. Then maybe my 4th grader in with the high schoolers. It’s uncomfortable and I don’t like thinking about that. I think parents deserve a sit down meeting at least…we all want to know what’s going on,” Auclair explains.

The superintendent says he’ll meet with parents when he knows what’s going on and he won’t know that until after the school committee votes on approving new school floors and alternative locations if the work can’t be done by the first day of school.


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