SALISBURY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Students and staff will soon return to West Rowan Middle School after being diverted to remote learning due to microbial growth found in the HVAC system.

Staff will return beginning Thursday, Sept. 15, and students will return Monday, Sept. 19, the Rowan-Salisbury School System said.

Contractors are nearing the end of their cleaning and mitigation work needed to ensure the school is ready to go. The timeline will allow for sanitization and cleaning to be completed and for staff to put things back to prep for students’ return, officials said.

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One West Rowan Middle School student, Pedro Roque, a few weeks ago, said he saw the mold before the school closed. 

“It was on the walls of the bathroom,” he said. “It was in between the cracks of the bricks. You could see it getting more and more throughout the days.”

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Officials urge that safety is the school’s top priority; they will continue to monitor the air quality in the building with regular environmental testing after students and staff return.