Students in Denton Hall advised to restrict activity, monitor symptoms for 14 days

Denton Hall on Sept. 18, 2020. (Joe Ryan/The Diamondback)

Students in Denton Hall have been asked to restrict their activities and self-monitor symptoms for 14 days following 23 positive results in the dorm over a two-week period, according to a university spokesperson.

The measure applies to 200 students in the dorm, according to a statement from AFSCME 1072, the union that represents University of Maryland workers. 

The students who tested positive are in isolation, and nine people who had close contact with a student who tested positive have been moved to quarantine housing, according to information provided by the university.

“Out of an abundance of caution, and in consultation with Prince George’s County Health Department, we have implemented enhanced health precautions for Denton Hall,” according to a statement provided by university spokesperson Natifia Mullings. 

The restrictions go into effect 5:00 p.m. Friday and will remain in place until noon on Oct. 2, according to a university email sent to the dorm’s residents early Friday afternoon.

Residents had to tell the university whether they were going to stay in Denton Hall or return to their permanent residence by 5 p.m., according to the email. Students who opt to return to their permanent residence are not required to be tested before leaving, the email read. 

[Stress, bad food and flooding: What it’s like to be a UMD student in quarantine housing]

The restriction comes the same week the university launched its second major testing event. Since Monday, the university has reported 114 new cases — a combination of university-administered and self-reported tests. 

The email sent to residents instructs them to stay inside their dorm room as much as possible and limit the capacity of communal bathrooms and elevators to a maximum of three people. Students are not to attend in-person classes or visit public places including Stamp Student Union, gyms or other dorms, according to the university email. Residents may leave the dorm to “get fresh air,” but they are encouraged to wear face masks and continue social distancing. 

Each floor of the dorm will be assigned a case manager, according to the email, and the dining services department will be delivering meals to students in Denton Hall. 

In a residential facilities department email to staff, the university stated it will continue to rely on volunteer staff in the building and will meet with volunteer housekeepers and maintenance staff to answer questions

“We understand that you may be worried as we see the number of cases on campus continue to go up,” the email read. We have taken many precautions to keep you, our employees, safe. If we continue to follow safe work practices, we will keep everyone healthy.”

The university expects the precautionary measure will allow students to resume in-person activities on Oct. 2, according to the university’s statement.

This story has been updated. 

Senior staff writers Rina Torchinsky and Daisy Grant contributed to this report. 

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