Parents remain leery about school with high carbon dioxide levels

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MIDDLESEX -

Many parents with students at Von E. Mauger Middle School in Middlesex Borough say that they are still concerned about sending their children to the school after high levels of carbon dioxide were detected.

School officials have reassured parents that the levels inside the school are now safe.

Many of the classroom windows were open at the school Thursday, even though temperatures were in the 40s when school began. Parents say opening the windows is one of the ways the school is combating high levels of carbon dioxide.

Nine classrooms in the school were found to have high levels of carbon dioxide in mid-September. The levels were above the allowed 1,000 parts per million. Parents say that those levels may have caused their children to become sick, lethargic and suffer headaches and migraines.

RELATED: Parents voice frustration over carbon dioxide levels at Middlesex school

In a letter to parents on Tuesday, Superintendent Dr. Linda Mason said, "There are no abnormal health risks for students, staff or visitors at the Von E. Mauger School. Students and staff should continue to attend school as they normally would."

But Middlesex Mayor Ron DiMura says that he wants to know who knew about the problem and for how long. DiMura says that school officials may have known about the ventilation issues for at least two years.

Parents say that they were never told about the high levels of carbon dioxide until a school board meeting this week.

“When I saw the board of ed meeting on video, I was shocked. I was sick to my stomach,” says parent Rachel Vance. “How can they let this go on with our kids in school and not tell us? That's not their decision to make whether it's safe or not safe at those levels. We should have been made aware.”

Dr. Mason declined to be interviewed on camera for News 12 New Jersey’s story, but says that additional testing took place at the school Wednesday.

Mason says that she wants to hold a public town hall to present the latest findings with a number of health experts to address any further concerns from parents. Testing will continue Friday.  

She also calls the mayor's comments “irresponsible” and “not based in fact.”

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