Department of Resident Life

 

November 29, 2018

 

Dear Elkton Residents,

We are writing with updates regarding the mold remediation effort in Elkton Hall that was completed on October 10 and to respond to questions received about the Adenovirus.

We felt it was important to share with you that the University has received and released the final reports from the independent indoor environmental quality consulting firms hired to review and assist with the Elkton Hall mold remediation process.  Building Dynamics, LLC. and Vertex Companies, Inc., two independent engineering and industrial hygiene consulting firms have provided the reports. They can be found at reslife.umd.edu/moldconcerns/ along with additional documents and communications related to the mold remediation effort.

These two firms were part of a larger team of university staff and contractors who helped complete the remediation effort. You?ll recall that after seeing an increase in reports of mold, the university made the decision to relocate Elkton residents to nearby hotels, one or two floors at a time, and hired independent contractors to assist in the remediation efforts. As of October 10, the comprehensive remediation and cleanup were completed.  We know that this was a difficult time for you and very disruptive, but please know that every decision made around student relocation and mold clean-up was driven first and foremost by student safety.

More recently, we understand that many students are concerned about media reports that have raised whether there is a connection between exposure to mold and Adenovirus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that no link exists between mold and Adenovirus, and it appears that there is no consistent connection between mold exposure and the incidents of Adenovirus infection affecting UMD students.

The CDC states Adenoviruses are common causes of colds and are normally found in significant numbers of people at this time of year. However, there are strains that can cause more serious illness. We are deeply saddened that one UMD student, Olivia Paregol, recently passed away from Adenovirus-associated illness, and we offer our condolences to her family and friends.

Dr. David McBride, Director of the University Health Center, has been updating our community about Adenovirus-related illnesses.  Hopefully, you have been reading these important communications. You can also review those communications as well as FAQs and a timeline at health.umd.edu/adenovirus-resources. A list of locations where Adenovirus has been confirmed was recently added to this website, and you can see these cases have been confirmed in several residence halls and off-campus locations.

For students with chronic medical problems like asthma, diabetes or illnesses that affect their immune system, or those who take medicine that lowers their immune system, it is vitally important not to ignore flu-like symptoms (high fever and cough/sore throat and vomiting/diarrhea) and to visit the University Health Center or your personal physician within 48 hours of developing symptoms. As always, being vigilant in taking precautions is the best strategy for students during flu and virus season.  We urge you to take the following precautions:
 
  • Get a flu shot. You can schedule an appointment at the University Health Center to receive a shot.

  • Wash your hands frequently and use the hand sanitizing stations that are located around campus.

  • Avoid those who are ill, if possible.

  • Clean high-touch surfaces in your room (interior doorknobs, TV remotes, tops of desk/dressers, closet door bars, personal cell phone/laptop surfaces) with anti-bacterial cleaner (bleach wipes are very effective-follow the instructions on the packaging). The campus convenience stores carry these products if you do not have them or cannot get to a store off campus.

  • Cough into your sleeve or a tissue, not directly into your hands, and wash your hands immediately.

  • Avoid touching your face when you are ill and when healthy; this spreads germs!

  • Avoid sharing food, utensils, cups, and water bottles.

  • Avoid Emergency Rooms and Urgent Care Centers unless you are truly sick as these locations will be crowded with many sick people.

The university is working closely with the state and county health departments to monitor new cases and coordinate on testing. Departments across campus, including the Health Center, Residential Facilities, Facilities Management, Department of Transportation Services, Athletics, RecWell and The Stamp, have been vigilant in increasing cleaning of high-touch surfaces and restrooms. Faculty have been asked to be flexible in allowing students to make decisions that are best for their health without necessarily providing documentation of their illness from a medical practitioner.

We recognize this has been a difficult semester for you. We encourage you to seek the support of friends, family, campus resources and our Resident Life staff if you are feeling overwhelmed.  There are many resources available on campus to help you.

Counseling Center   
Shoemaker Building
301-314-7651

Behavioral Health Services
University Health Center
301-314-8106

University Chaplains  
Memorial Chapel
301-314-9866
 

We hope that you find this information helpful.

Sincerely,

Departments of Resident Life and Residential Facilities


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Department of Resident Life
7626 Regents Drive
2101 Annapolis Hall, College Park, MD 20742
Phone: (301) 314-2100
Email:
reslife@umd.edu   
Web:
reslife.umd.edu