Mold inside a school is the last thing a district wants to deal with, especially with just three weeks to go before classes are set to begin.

One Ocean County school is feeling that right now while officials scramble to rectify the situation.

The Manchester Township Middle School had to be evacuated last week after mold was discovered. The district is still waiting word from a environmental consulting firm on how the discovery will impact it’s opening September 4th for staff and the 5th for students.

Several mold spores were found in spots inside the lower level of the building. The extreme heat from the summer and air conditioning condensation may be to blame. A cleanup crew has been hired.

But how common is mold in a school? One expert says very! Last year, the Cecil S. Collins Elementary School in Barnegat had trouble during the first part of the semester forcing them to bus kids to another building. And now Manchester. Tom Duff, the owner of Master Tech Environmental based in South Jersey, just completed a cleanup. He says each case is different but there are common threads to look out for.

Duff says, “In both cases, the schools were built and opened during the 1980′s. Age can definitely play a factor on whether a school would be prone to problems. Even the building materials during construction can play a part.”

Duff adds, “Because children have sensitive or under-developed immune systems, all schools should have routine mold testing on a quarterly basis. Better to be safe than sorry.”

Some of the symptoms of mold exposure mimic allergic reactions. They include headache, sweats, pain in the stomach and in severe cases asthmatic like conditions.

Manchester School Superintendent David Trethaway and his staff have several contingency plans ready to go in case they can’t get everything cleaned up in time for the first day.