Reports of mold in some residence halls and off-campus apartment buildings

November 1, 2018

As you may be aware, there have been reports of mold in some residence halls and off-campus apartment buildings in recent weeks. Because of the abnormally wet weather this summer and fall, the number of reports of mold in student housing has been higher than what we typically see. This has been the case across the region, not just at Longwood.

Here are details on our response to reports of mold:

  • We have worked with outside experts to complete initial air quality testing across campus, and have found that the vast majority of rooms tested are within the normal range of air quality. One room had numbers that were slightly elevated, and they fell well below the threshold experts recommend for professional cleaning, and on the low side of what the Environmental Protection Agency says is the normal outside range for mold spores. We took the precaution of temporarily relocating those students and thoroughly cleaning that room.
  • When we receive reports concerning visible mold or concerns about possible mold levels, we respond immediately, clean the surface mold and ensure it is contained, and where appropriate take preventative steps like installing flashing or blowers.
  • We are working with outside experts and contractors on preventative measures to make sure we prevent additional issues cropping up in these buildings. These include making structural repairs, installing new equipment, and additional cleaning as necessary.
  • We have instituted additional air quality testing across campus in the coming days and weeks.
  • It is important to note we are not dealing with black mold. Test results from across campus show no traces of black mold anywhere. These are normal strains of mold that are found in this region, and typically are surface-level.

In addition to outlining our response, I want to also address some misconceptions about mold that our consultants have said are common. First, mold spores exist in the air naturally, and you can never remove them all. Professionals have a range they consider normal air quality, which is what we test for.

You can do a number of things to help prevent mold in your living space. These include:

  • Spread out towels after use so they dry more quickly.
  • Minimize containers left in the shower.
  • Wipe down the shower with a towel or squeegee after every use.
  • Always use the exhaust fan when you are showering, and leave the bathroom door open after you leave the bathroom. (On-campus residence halls have fans that always run, off-campus housing has fans that are turned on with a switch).
  • Store your clothes in dry, well-ventilated areas.
  • Don’t let water collect and sit in your bathroom or kitchen.
  • Check under any indoor plants you might have to make sure water is not accumulating.
  • Make sure you don’t have clutter or furniture blocking your air/heating vents from circulating air in your room.

If you have concerns about any specific issues in your room, place a work order for maintenance crews by emailing workorder@longwood.edu, and then contact your RA and the university housing department at x2080.

Additionally, I encourage you to share this information with your parents if they have questions.