The smell of mold in a classroom and an air quality test at Hays CISD's Hemphill Elementary School has led to the campus closing through Nov. 9.

The background

To address the issue, district officials said they initially alerted parents the school would be closed Nov. 2-6. But through the mitigation process, district officials said they discovered the issue was “more pervasive” than they originally thought and uncovered that at least 13 classrooms are affected in areas behind the walls to about 3 feet above the floors. Mitigation crews now believe students will not be able to return to campus until Nov. 9, according to an email to parents from the district.

According to HCISD officials, air quality tests revealed the initial classroom where the mold was detected had elevated levels of aspergillus/penicillium, which may affect people with weakened immune systems or cause allergies.

The details

“For people with healthy immune systems, breathing in aspergillus isn’t harmful,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website states. “However, for people who have weakened immune systems, breathing in aspergillus spores can cause an infection in the lungs or sinuses, which can spread to other parts of the body.”

According to district officials, students at Hemphill Elementary School will continue to have access to a grab-and-go meal service during the week while the school is closed beginning Nov. 3.

HCISD officials said they have enough instructional minutes to accommodate two full days of missed instruction without the need to make up the days. The district will also be coordinating with the Texas Education Agency to seek a waiver for the remaining days of missed instruction so students will not have to come to school on days that have been scheduled as holidays later in the year.