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Maryland higher ed leaders plan review of deadly adenovirus case at College Park

Olivia Paregol, 18, died during an outbreak of adenovirus at the University of Maryland. (Courtesy Ian Paregol)

A grieving family has for the first time met with leaders from the University System of Maryland, who are planning an independent review into the death of a student from adenovirus.

“We really want a full, deep-dive investigation,” said Ian Paregol, the father of University of Maryland freshman Olivia Paregol, who died after contracting the virus at the College Park campus last November.

His concerns include the school’s communications regarding adenovirus, as well as its handling of dorm capacity issues and mold problems.

He said that “from our perspective, it is a series of practices that exhibit reckless disregard for the health and safety of the students.”

As for the investigation, “We’d like to be kept in the loop of where things stand and help them ferret out where the mistakes were made by the university,” he said.

During a University System of Maryland Board of Regents conference call, board Chair Linda Gooden said, “As the governor has requested, the board will undertake an immediate and full investigation into the fall 2019 adenovirus outbreak at UMCP.”

“We have begun to plan for this investigation … Once planning is complete, we will provide public update on next steps,” Gooden added.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called for an investigation last month.

Regarding the issue of mold, the University Health Center’s website stated: “While it is true that mold can cause irritation of the respiratory tract and make individuals more susceptible to viral infections in general … it appears that there is no consistent connection between mold exposure and the incidents of adenovirus infection affecting UMD students.”

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