Monroe County students are getting one extra day of summer vacation.
Students in Monroe County schools were set to return on Friday. But on Monday, the district announced the start date was being delayed until next Monday, Aug. 6.
The delay will allow time for the relocation of 285 sixth-grade students from the William Hubbard campus of Monroe County Middle School on Ga. 83 to the Banks Stephens campus on Thornton Road, according to a school system news release.
Water seeping into exterior walls and into some classrooms at the William Hubbard campus created air quality issues that has made the move of sixth-graders to the Banks Stephens campus necessary, the release stated.
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The William Hubbard campus was built in the mid-1950s and is the oldest building in the school system.
“Due to the age of the building and the knowledge of possible issues, we have monitored air quality in the William Hubbard building frequently. In previous years, air quality conditions have always been in normal thresholds meaning the air inside the building was of better quality than outside air,” Superintendent Mike Hickman said in the release. “However, this summer’s frequent and heavy rains, constant high humidity, and heat have led to air quality levels that have caused us to be concerned enough to vacate the building.”
After heavy rain the week of the July 4 holiday, an air quality test showed high spore counts for certain types of molds and mildews that the school felt was not normal and would not be safe for children and staff, Hickman told The Telegraph.
Open house for the middle school was originally scheduled for Tuesday but has been moved to 1-5 p.m. Friday.
The Monroe County Board of Education and school system leaders will be working to develop a long-term plan for students and staff after this school year.
“I’m not sure we’re going to be able to do anything over time to speak to the problem without sinking a whole lot of money into it,” Hickman said in an interview. “The building is so old and in order to create that water barrier you’d have to dig around the building and put a barrier up, and I don’t know that that is feasible at this point.”
An email and phone call on Monday notified parents of the schedule change. The school system will release information later in the week regarding bus schedules and parent drop-off and pick-up procedures for the Banks Stephens campus.