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Northport students in two classrooms relocated after odor complaints

Northport resident Tammie Topel, front, whose two children

Northport resident Tammie Topel, front, whose two children attended Northport Middle School, is joined by about a dozen other parents and students outside the school Thursday afternoon. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Northport Middle School officials alerted parents this week that students in two classrooms were relocated because of an “indoor air quality issue,” and the district has hired an outside consultant to conduct a review at the school after odors were detected.

The school for years has been the subject of complaints of a stench that nauseates students, teachers and staff, as well as allegations of long-term health problems, ranging from migraines, nosebleeds, sinus and lung infections to general fatigue.

Some parents organized a sickout there earlier this month, and a few rallied Thursday outside the school. Rally organizers were calling for an independent investigation of the school, and want their children removed from the building.

In an email to parents Monday, Principal Tim Hoss said students in room L-83 were moved to L-81 and students in G-51 moved to B-24 because of “moisture-related odors.” He said an air quality team inspected both rooms, and “we believe the odors are related to the rapid temperature change and high humidity.”

In a subsequent note to parents Tuesday, Hoss said students in G-51 returned to the classroom, which was odor-free at the time, but by the end of the day several students reported an odor and were moved to B-21.

The students, who are in grades 6 and 7, remain relocated in the school, district officials said Thursday. Room L-83 is located in the back of the building, and G-51 is a newly renovated science classroom.

“There are a number of factors that can lead to odors in a school building," Superintendent Robert Banzer said in a statement. "We believe the source of the latest IAQ issue at NMS may be related to the substantial amount of rain over the past few days.

"At this time, we have decided to bring in an outside consultant for further review and expect to provide an update to our community once their review is complete,” Banzer said.

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