COLLEGE PARK, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - One year after a deadly outbreak of adenovirus at the University of Maryland, College Park the state has finished its investigation into the school’s handling of the crisis.
During the outbreak, 40 students got sick and freshman Olivia Paregol died from the illness.
The report, which can be read here, found the University of Maryland followed state and federal law with how they handled the outbreak, however, it also found major deficiencies. Included are 12 pages of recommendations about how the school can do better.
The university waited more than two weeks to let families know students were sick with adenovirus. Paregol’s parents said doctors didn’t know what was wrong with Olivia and information about other cases could’ve saved her life.
Her father was interviewed as part of this report.
”And he started by saying, ‘Can somebody answer why we were never told that there were cases of adenovirus?’ And unfortunately the report says nothing of that,” said Thomas Doyle, the family’s attorney.
The report was requested by Gov. Larry Hogan and conducted by a panel selected by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents. It found no employee intentionally withheld or delayed relaying information and that staff at the school worked “hard and tirelessly” to address the issues they confronted with regard to adenovirus and mold in dorms, including Olivia’s dorm.
But the report goes on to say there was a problem with how the university addressed those issues — that it let departments at the school handle the problems instead of treating them as a campuswide emergency.
“I don’t doubt that people worked hard and tirelessly to quote from the report,” said Doyle. “But ultimately there was failure after failure where it mattered most.”
University of Maryland has turned down FOX 5’s requests for an interview about the adenovirus response for months.
The school provided this statement:
"The University of Maryland offers its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Olivia Paregol as we near the anniversary of her tragic passing. The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents released today its report on the University of Maryland’s (UMD) handling of adenovirus and mold last fall.
UMD will carefully review the recommendations as part of a continuing effort to evaluate current policies and practices. In response to recommendations that encourage a more coordinated response to future emergencies, UMD is currently studying ways to implement trainings that build upon existing tabletop exercises and reviewing the role of the safety committees now in place.
The panel unanimously found that university employees worked tirelessly and that student health and safety were paramount in our decision making. This reflects our values as an institution."
Read the full report below: