Start of school delayed to Sept. 5 in Alamance-Burlington School System because of mold issues

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Wednesday, August 23, 2023
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BURLINGTON, N.C. (WTVD) -- Back to school will have to wait a little longer in Alamance County as the district deals with potential health hazards.

The Alamance-Burlington School System said it is delaying the start of the school year until Sept. 5 to allow more time to evaluate every school campus after mold was discovered in more than a dozen buildings.

Mold problems were found during the weekend at Broadview Middle School, Cummings High School, and Williams High School. Mold was also found at Andrews Elementary and Newlin Elementary schools earlier this month.

ABSS said it has spent more than $1.2 million on mold remediation and HVAC repairs at Andrews and Newlin.

With the discovery and subsequent delay of the school year, ABSS will have environmental inspectors evaluate and address issues at all district campuses.


"We want our students to be back in school, but also want this work to be done effectively to prevent these issues from happening in the future. We have to address it appropriately," said Board Chair Sandy Ellington-Graves.

Preliminary assessments suggest that the mold was caused by a combination of factors, including the age of some school buildings, HVAC systems with insufficient airflow, high humidity this summer, and structural damage that has developed over time. All the schools where mold was found are more than 50 years old.

The delay does not affect Alamance-Burlington Early College at Alamance Community College, which has already started classes.

Ellington Graves and other officials visited Williams High School, which opened in 1951, on Tuesday afternoon to see the mold issues firsthand.

At Williams, mold was discovered on the first floor in four rooms and a closet underneath outside stairwells, indicating a drainage issue, the district said.

"This is not how we wanted to start the school year. Fixing these issues is going to take resources we don't have. That's why we need time to assess, meet with our Commissioners and state delegation, and determine the best course of action going forward." said Dr. Dain Butler, Superintendent. "We want to assure families that the District is taking this situation very seriously and we are addressing issues as quickly and effectively as possible."

When school does start, Newlin will temporarily relocate to Ray Street Academy. Ray Street students and staff will move to Graham Middle School.