The Alamance-Burlington School System announced that the beginning of the school year would be delayed to Sept. 5 following reports of pathogenic mold inside over a dozen ABSS facilities Aug. 22. 

These facilities include Cummings High School, Williams High School, Broadview Middle School, Andrews Elementary School and Newlin Elementary School. Mold was found and has been cleaned out of Andrews Elementary School as of Aug. 18.

Mold removal inside Newlin and Andrews Elementary Schools has already cost the district $1.2 million, according to ABSS

The first announcement from ABSS about mold problems within the schools came in late July with a discovery of mold inside Andrews Elementary. This comes as the school district has been working to upgrade and overhaul schools across Alamance County using funding granted to ABSS from a 2018 bond referendum. 

The eight day delay will allow ABSS to inspect all facilities for mold prior to classes beginning Sept. 5. A joint meeting will be held between the ABSS Board of Education, Alamance County Commissioners and the county’s state delegation at 3 p.m. Aug. 28.

"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,” ABSS Superintendent Dain Butler said in a press release

Butler’s office declined to comment on Elon News Network’s previous request for comment, and was out of office during Elon News Network’s immediate request for comment.

This is not the first instance of mold that has been found inside ABSS schools. According to an Alamance County Health Department Report from Aug. 17, 2017, “active leaks, microbial growth, water damage to floors, walls, ceilings and furniture was observed” inside of Cummings High School and Broadview Middle School.

The report from 2017 also noted that there were “over 31 areas of water infiltration from roof leaks” found at Broadview Middle School and “26 areas of water infiltration” at Cummings High School. 

“The mold in the Alamance-Burlington School System is really not a new issue, it is for the current administration, meaning the … superintendent and the board because none of them were present as early as 2017," Former ABSS Board Member Patsy Simpson said.

The mold issues also come as ABSS is scheduled to open Southeast Alamance High School — a new high school located on North Carolina Highway 119 at the start of the academic year. This will be Alamance County’s newest school in decades and is scheduled to open on Sept. 5. 

“I agree at some point that we needed a new high school. I don't necessarily agree that we needed it with all the bells and whistles considering the conditions of some of our other schools,” Simpson said.