Superintendent proposes temporarily closing school, relocating students

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Westport Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Colleen Palmer recommends an in-depth study on Coleytown Middle School and temporarily relocating its students amid ongoing mold concerns there.

Coleytown M.S. was closed Thursday and will be on Friday for environmental testing. But Palmer announced Thursday that she wants it closed for the next three to four weeks, during which time experts will get a comprehensive look at the school.

During the proposed closure, sixth- and seventh-graders would attend Bedford Middle School, and eighth-graders would go to Staples High School. That would mean 300 additional students into Bedford and 150 into Staples. Bus schedules would remain the same.

The school board held an emergency meeting Thursday evening following a health-related evacuation Monday. Several staff members and a student reported feeling sick. The next day, more than 50 students were absent. Dozens of others lined the halls for the nurse's office, complaining of symptoms similar to respiratory allergies.

Many parents placed the blame on mold because of the mold problems there over the summer, when more than half of the building needed some kind of remediation.

Parents who spoke with News 12 Thursday said they were relieved to hear that the district is taking action.

"It's certainly a step in the right direction," says Jodi Ross, of Westport.

The school board is set to vote on the proposal at a meeting Friday evening.

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