U.Md. reports surge in COVID-19 cases amid outbreak at Greek life houses

Coronavirus cases are climbing at the University of Maryland in College Park as campus officials deal with emerging outbreaks at two Greek life chapterhouses.

Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have spiked over 400% over the last several weeks as students have moved back into the College Park area for the beginning of online instruction, the university’s student-run newspaper The Diamondback reported.

While classes officially started last week, there has been no in-person instruction yet at College Park — but the school hopes to get some students back in the classroom soon, with many students continuing to live on or near campus in the meantime.

That includes students living in two Greek life houses — the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house, and the Sigma Kappa sorority house. Residents in both houses — where around a couple dozen students can live — have been asked to self-quarantine.

Despite an uptick in cases, overall positivity rate for university-conducted testing currently stands around 1%, considerably lower than Maryland’s statewide average of 3.63% as of Sunday.

The school said it still has ample space for those who need to be quarantined on campus, with infected students currently utilizing only 64 of 300 beds set aside for isolation. However, that number has risen by 60 in the last week alone.

The Office of Student Conduct has issued 19 interim suspensions for failure to adhere to university and county-mandated COVID-19 related restrictions.

With the school hoping to resume some in-person instruction next week, the next big testing event on campus will be held on Tuesday. Testing is mandatory for many students living on campus and those who might start in-person instruction again, as well as faculty and staff.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.


John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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