University of Maryland students living on the girls’ side of the seventh floor of Cumberland Hall are being asked to move into quarantine housing after at least one person tested positive for COVID-19 on their floor, several residents told The Diamondback Thursday night.
They learned of the positive case from an email Wednesday night, which prompted residents on the floor to begin scrambling to find ways to get tested for the virus.
Although the university is requiring all students to get tested for the virus after arriving on the campus — on top of getting tested before their arrival — appointments for the on-campus test site are currently booked solid, according to an email obtained by The Diamondback. The school will be offering on-campus testing once again from Sept. 15-18, Sept. 22-24, Sept. 29 and Oct. 1, a university spokesperson wrote in an email. Advance registration will be required, she wrote.
In a statement the spokesperson shared, the university encouraged students who do not register for testing or drop-by scheduling to get tested at a local county site, through their doctor or at an urgent care center.
“If students are ill, symptomatic or concerned in any way, we want them to immediately contact the University Health Center,” the statement read.
On Wednesday, several students on Cumberland’s seventh floor received an email advising them to “remain home and self-quarantine for 14 days,” since they may have had recently come in contact with the individual who tested positive due to the location of their room or bathroom. The email was signed by Resident Life Director Valronica Scales and University Health Center Director Sacared Bodison.
Emily Miller, one freshman living on floor seven who was asked to self-quarantine, said she was able to get tested on campus Wednesday — before receiving the email from Scales and Bodison — but others on her floor are trying to find testing off-campus.
“Because for some really dumb reason they’re not testing on campus anymore, which I find incredibly stupid,” she said. “There are going to be some COVID cases, you need to have available testing at your fingertips right now, especially with all these kids on campus.”
According to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard, as of Sept. 2, 38 campus community members had been notified that they had tested positive for the virus. The university isn’t reporting out cases floor-by-floor, the university spokesperson wrote in her email.
Anxiety is running high on Cumberland’s seventh floor, said Miller, a criminology and criminal justice major. When people on her floor got the email Wednesday night that they may have been exposed to someone infected with the virus, they all started “freaking out and calling everyone, like our parents and our friends,” she said. “We’re scared.”
Wednesday’s email also encouraged residents to remain alert for symptoms of the virus, telling them to take their temperature, self-isolate and seek medical advice should they develop a cough, feel feverish or have difficulty breathing. It also advised them to stay away from people “in [their] home” as much as possible — which will be tricky, since they share a communal bathroom — and stay away from “public areas.”
Rebecca Scherr, another freshman living on Miller’s half of the floor, said she also managed to get tested for the virus on Wednesday, before being advised to self-quarantine. She said she let some friends who she has seen recently know that she may have been exposed to someone with the virus, especially since they were planning to go home for the weekend to see their families.
Between hearing this news and struggling to become acclimated to her classes, the last few days have been really difficult, said Scherr, an English and government and politics major.
“It’s definitely hard to grapple with what’s been going on, and also balance your classes,” she said.
Editor-in-chief Daisy Grant contributed to this article. This story has been updated.