The start of Johnson C. Smith University’s spring semester has been delayed until Jan. 22 while mold is removed from residence halls, according to school officials.
The announcement to delay was made Friday, just four days before classes were set to resume. The mold was discovered in November and the university immediately began to address the issue, JCSU spokeswoman Sherri Belfield said in an email to the Observer.
JCSU used winter break to evaluate all residence halls and is still working to identify causes of the mold, Belfield said in the email.
“Although the evaluation took longer than expected, we have inspected every room and implemented an aggressive remediation and overall cleaning program to head off any potential issues in the future,” a letter to students reads.
Classes, originally set to begin on Tuesday, are being delayed to allow employees to complete the cleaning process.
In addition to clearing mold growth, this process will also include deep cleaning and addressing existing water damage that can lead to these issues, a university press release says.
Residence halls are now scheduled to reopen on Jan. 18 for most students.
“We want to reiterate that no student will be assigned to a room where mold has been identified and has not been remediated. If any work remains to be done upon students’ return, we will assist in relocating affected students to alternate housing. Students who have already arrived on campus for specific projects and programs will be accommodated in approved housing,” the letter says.
This housing can include on-campus housing or hotels if it becomes necessary, said Belfield in a phone call with The Observer.
JCSU is also offering academic accommodations including calendar changes, additional online classes and other support that might be necessary, according to the press release. The delay of nine school days aligns with collegiate academic requirements, Belfield said in the email, so the university doesn’t “anticipate any impact on students’ education.”
“Nothing is more important to us than the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff,” the letter to students says.
JSCU, an HBCU, has about 1,500 students, the university’s website says.