What to Know
- Officials said they're still not entirely sure what caused students, staff and a firefighter to get ill over two days at a New Jersey school
- Gantner Avenue Elementary School in Elmwood Park was closed Friday for environmental and safety tests
- Hundreds of parents turned out to the meeting Tuesday to voice their concerns over the safety of the school
Officials said they're still not entirely sure what caused students, staff and a firefighter to get sick over the course of two days last week at one New Jersey elementary school.
Officials said in a school board meeting Tuesday that more than two dozen people were taken to the hospital after fainting, feeling sick or having skin tests indicate elevated carbon monoxide levels at Gantner Avenue Elementary School in Elmwood Park on Wednesday and Thursday. The school was closed Friday for environmental and safety tests.
Officials initially said after two students fainted on Wednesday the cooling-system chemical glycol was to blame. But at Tuesday night's school board meeting, officials said they still couldn't definitively say the compound, which officials said didn't have any long-term hazardous effects, caused people to feel ill.
Also on Tuesday, paramedics who responded to the scene said in addition to the students who fainted and complained about feeling sick, 16 additional children were also checked out after skin tests indicated exposure to carbon monoxide. But doctors said more accurate blood tests showed no signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Hundreds of parents turned out to the meeting Tuesday to voice their concerns over the safety of the school.
"As a parent it's really hard to drop your kid off in the morning and wait for 3 o clock to come around and wonder if you're going to get an evacuation call," said one parent.
School officials said an environmental firm that was brought in to perform tests would be on hand for the rest of the week to monitor the situation.