COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Just a few weeks after class got started at the University of Maryland, students living in Elkton Hall are moving out after several reports to staff members about the presence of mold.
"Out of an abundance of caution, we have concluded it is necessary to thoroughly clean and remediate every room in the building regardless of whether students have reported an issue in their room," read a statement released to residents.
Students will be relocated to area hotels. The university is working with the school's transportation department to arrange shuttle services.
Parents and students shared photos of the mold covering doors of the dorm rooms and several pairs of shoes in the closet. The students also so say it's appearing on their air conditioning units, beds and blinds.
According to a university spokesperson, the main dorm affected is Elkton Hall. However, mold cases have shown up in several other dorms on campus. Currently, only Elkton Hall residents will be moved out of their dorms and into hotels. Multiple students in Bel Air Hall sent WUSA9 photos of mold on their dorm room belongings.
Zahrah Siddiq is a freshman living in Elkton Hall. She said she has been moved to a temporary dorm room in another building because the mold in Elkton has made her sick.
“I can’t breathe right, I have an inhaler,” said Siddiq. “I’m on antibiotics and a bunch of other medications.”
Other Elkton Hall residents told WUSA9 the mold looked like a white dust gathering on beds, furniture and shoes. Parents visiting for Maryland’s Parents’ Weekend on Saturday were seeking answers from residence hall staff.
“Parents have been calling residential life through all of this, and you’re constantly just leaving messages,” said Cheryl Taylor, who was visiting her daughter for the weekend. “That has been really frustrating for the parents because we haven’t been getting answers.”
Here is the full statement provided to WUSA9 from the University of Maryland:
The safety, health, and well-being of each and every resident is a matter of utmost concern for the Departments of Resident Life and Residential Facilities at the University of Maryland. Mold has been reported throughout Elkton Hall, as well as isolated reports in other residence halls, and the issue has been exacerbated in recent days due to significant rain and high humidity in our area. We recognize and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and concern this has caused our residents and their families. We want to assure students we are working as quickly as possible to eradicate the problem.
University staff has been working around the clock to thoroughly remediate the mold. We have taken many steps to address the issue, including hiring contractors who specialize in mold remediation; installing commercial-grade dehumidifiers in floor hallways; conducting inspections of rooms that have reported service requests; cleaning all surfaces, and cleaning or replacing furniture. Out of an abundance of caution, we also plan to relocate Elkton Hall students, floor by floor over a number of days, to local hotels to thoroughly clean and remediate when necessary every room in the building.
We appreciate our community’s patience as we continue to respond to residents’ facilities and maintenance requests 24-hours a day. We encourage all of our residents to report facilities questions or services requests to our 24-hour service center at 301-314-9675.
We will continue to provide updates directly to affected residents on our work related to our remediation efforts.
If any personal items were affected by the mold, the university recommends cleaning it with soap and water, but will not reimburse students for any lost items.
According to the statement, each room will be cleaned on every floor.
The remediation plan:
The remediation of the vacated floors will include:
• Cleaning all room surfaces including walls, floors, doors, and closets, and HEPA vacuuming carpets
• Servicing and cleaning the fan coil unit (air conditioning unit) in the room, including removing the cover, cleaning coils, and changing filters
• Cleaning all furniture surfaces, including inside and underneath drawers
• Cleaning all surfaces in the hallways and bathrooms
If students or parents have any questions, comments or concerns about the mold, they should call the 24-hour service center at 301-314-9675.