A wing of Northport Middle School will remain closed at least through the summer while school officials clean and test the air quality after petroleum-based materials were found and removed from the building, officials said.
Air-quality testing detected 24 volatile organic compounds — which are in many commonly used products such as nail polish or gasoline — in the classroom, including four at levels above the state Department of Health’s air-quality guidelines.
Fumes alerted Northport-East Northport district officials to the problem in late April, when materials emitting the fumes were discovered in the district’s central warehouse, which is beneath classrooms, Superintendent Robert Banzer said Tuesday.
The district has since removed a number of materials, including roofing products, paint, floor adhesives and a diesel additive, from the warehouse, he said. The additive “had been open and it wasn’t properly disposed of,” Banzer said. “We’ve taken care of those things.”
Students in the classroom where the fumes were detected were immediately moved to another room, and officials later decided to close the entire K wing while air-quality tests and cleaning were conducted, Banzer said.
“We, out of an abundance of caution, decided to move all of the students [out of the K wing] on Friday,” he said.
Officials notified parents of the fumes on May 26, when Banzer sent an email outlining efforts to address air quality.
Donna Rasizzi of Northport said her son was moved from the eighth-grade classroom where the fumes were first found, but she didn’t learn why until the email was circulated.
“We didn’t get information until a month later,” Rasizzi said Wednesday. “I wanted answers on procedures, what was going on.”
The earliest the district would reopen the wing is in the fall, contingent on air-quality test results, Banzer said.