The Berks-Mont News (

Brandywine Heights Elementary hosts first day at new location, after mold closed school first week

By Lisa Mitchell, The Kutztown Area Patriot

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

After mold concerns closed school for the first week, Brandywine Heights Elementary students arrived for the first day Tuesday morning, a week later than the rest of the district.
Mold spores in the carpets closed the elementary building the first week of school and now for the next several weeks, elementary students will be housed at the Middle/Intermediate School until the carpets are removed and the flooring is replaced.
“I’m excited (about the first day of school),” said Peyton Hillegass, 5, being dropped off by her Dad, Norm, for her first day of kindergarten at Brandywine Heights Elementary, located temporarily at the Intermediate School.
Norm was not happy that the first week of school was delayed because of mold.
“It’s something that should have been addressed awhile ago,” said Norm.
He believes the district should have addressed the mold concerns during the summer.
“I, and a lot of other parents, don’t understand why the school has carpets in it to begin with,” said Norm. “It shouldn’t have happened.”
Julia Coblentz, 5, was looking forward to her first day of kindergarten at Brandywine.
Her Mom, Kelly, dropped her off at the back entrance.
“This is her first year, so it was a wrinkle in the plans but we’re just rolling with it,” said Kelly.
Julia said school is fun and was looking forward to playing.
Elisabeth Reitmeyer, 7, walked with her Mom, Joanna, to the back entrance.
“It was an extra week that they missed and I’m glad that they’re getting back in there,” said Joanna. “I’m just glad that they decided to do something about (the carpets) and hopefully it’s a tile floor, something easy to clean.”
Elisabeth was nervous about going to 2nd grade for her first day of school at a new building.
“I’m nervous about being in a school I’ve almost never been in before,” said Elisabeth, who was also looking forward to seeing her friends.
Faculty greeted elementary students being dropped off by parents at the Intermediate School’s back entrance, while buses dropped off at the auditorium entrance. All students were directed to gather in the auditorium where they met their teachers.
“Things went very well this morning. Everyone had a great positive attitude,” said Superintendent Andrew Potteiger. “We spent a lot of today working on transitioning students.”
Staff were rotating through the classrooms to ensure everything was going smoothly, he said.
“We had parent volunteers who were in all day and were a tremendous help in the process,” said Potteiger. “Our guidance counselor went around to the classrooms to make sure there were no students who were having any adjustment concerns. Students seemed to go with the flow and transition pretty smoothly. I was very pleased with how everyone worked together and the success of the day!”
According to Potteiger, through the reutilization of rooms in the Intermediate/Middle School, a space for instruction has been established for each class while attempting to keep grade levels in common areas. This is a short term solution until the district removes and replaces the flooring.
The schedules will remain unchanged. During lunch, students will proceed through the line at a separate time and will be seated in a separate location in the cafeteria. They will continue to be supported by the elementary cafeteria aides as a familiar face to help, according to Potteiger.