Home Letters Bayonne Letters North Bergen's temporary classrooms are dangerous

North Bergen’s temporary classrooms are dangerous

Dear Editor:

Since 2001, long before there was the coronavirus, North Bergen has been schooling hundreds of preschool students in unsafe modular classrooms (Temporary Classroom Units/TCUs) in an illegal location (Braddock Park.)

In 2016, NJDEP directed North Bergen to remove its illegally located preschool from Braddock Park no later than 08-31-21. A few months ago (before coronavirus), North Bergen said it would not meet this deadline, even though North Bergen had five years to reach compliance.

InvestigateWest* wrote the following about TCUs: “They burden schools with high energy costs and frequent maintenance needs. They expose students and teachers to mold and mildew, poor ventilation and the potential for volatile gases from cheap building materials.”
* https://www.invw.org/2014/05/07/portables/
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency* noted “poorly functioning HVAC systems that provide minimal ventilation with outside air” is one of the most common problems of TCUs.
*https://www.epa.gov/iaq-schools/maintain-portable-classrooms-part-indoor-air-quality-design-tools-schools#portclass

In 2011, North Bergen told NJDEP that the TCUs were “antiquated.”

In 2016, North Bergen wrote NJDEP that these TCUs “have been in service beyond the normal life expectancy for this type of structure…TCUs are typically leased for five years.”

These TCUs are now almost 20 years old.

Poor ventilation in the preschool TCUs will spread coronavirus (and other maladies), and those most negatively affected will be minorities, those who can’t afford safer alternatives.

This is not the only safety, health and environmental concern of this dangerous North Bergen Preschool during these past 20 years.

This preschool has not been properly inspected and it has violated state regulations concerning egress requirements, etc.

Please take immediate action and do not allow this dangerous preschool to open again in the Braddock Park TCUs.

Ensure that North Bergen complies with the State and move the preschoolers into permanent classrooms in the community.

Email:
GSolter@northbergen.k12.nj.us
VParks@hcnj.us
Catherine.McCabe@dep.nj.gov
citizens.services@njoag.gov

Robert Walden

Bayonne
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