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Johnson C. Smith delays start of spring semester to inspect, clean mold in residence halls

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Johnson C. Smith University said it is delaying the start of its spring semester by more than two weeks because of reported mold in some of the residence halls.

[PAST COVERAGE: JCSU employee exposed to mold, lawsuit claims]

Classes will resume Jan. 22 while crews continue to inspect and clean the mold.

College officials said the dorms will not reopen until Jan. 18 for the vast majority of students. Students were originally scheduled to return to their residence halls Friday, with classes supposed to start Tuesday.

A few students were allowed to check into dorms Friday, but according to the notice from the president, most can't return.

Some of them are forced to stay in a hotel paid for by the university.

"Not even the RAs (residence assistants). They are sending everyone to a hotel until further notice,” student Xana Dove said.

[ALSO READ: Mold, bugs found during inspection at east Charlotte elementary school]

To help make up for lost time, JCSU said it will start offering some classes online.

According to school officials, crews inspected all dorms and attempted to clean them over winter break, but were unable to finish in time.

Officials said students will not be assigned to a room where mold was located, and students who come back to campus early will be placed in approved housing until school starts.

[RELATED: 'Electrical switch failure' in dorm leaves Johnson C. Smith students in the cold]

Dove said she began complaining in August when she found mold in the ceiling of her room.

"It was so noticeable and you could smell it, too,” Dove said.

In a photo Dove shared with Channel 9, moisture was dripping from the ceiling.

School officials moved her out of her dorm room and fixed the problem.

Dove said she was told the water came from a leak in the roof, but she lives on the first floor of a two-story building.

In November, she said she saw crews with special equipment in the halls.

"Some type of machine, I guess, you can put in the air to see if you can smell or breathe the mold,” Dove said.

Dove said she is glad that school officials are delaying class to go room by room checking for mold and cleaning the dorms.

Kaleb Griffin, who arrived from Colorado for his first day as a freshman, said his room is safe.

"Mold was really surprising,” Griffin said.

"I have no concerns at all. I know it's going to be taken care of,” said Willie Griffin, Kaleb’s father.

Last year, a former employee sued Johnson C. Smith, saying the mold on campus made her sick.

Johnson C. Smith released this statement: "To sustain academic integrity and student matriculation, JSCO will offer accommodations such as calendar changes, additional online classes and other support that might be necessary.

"Nothing is more important to us than the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff. We apologize for the inconvenience our delayed opening will cause but want to ensure our work is comprehensive and thorough. In addition to remediating any suspected mold growth, a focus of our work is deep cleaning and to address any existing water damage that can lead to such issues."

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