The University of Maryland community has seen a decrease in reported COVID-19 cases after a spike at the beginning of the fall semester.
University community members reported 696 COVID-19 cases in the first four weeks of this semester. There were more than 1,300 reported cases in the same time frame in the fall 2022 semester.
This comes as the U.S. House of Representatives Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic launches an investigation into this university amid concerns that off-campus quarantine requirements for students who test positive for COVID-19 places unnecessary financial, academic and mental stress on students.
The subcommittee is also investigating this university for its use of the $115 million dollars of aid it received from the multiple COVID-19 relief bills passed by Congress, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act; Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021; and the American Rescue Plan.
The subcommittee criticized university President Darryll Pines for the updated quarantine policy that does not provide quarantine housing and only offers financial assistance for students to stay at a local hotel if their permanent residence is more than 300 miles from campus.
“During the public health emergency and today, we stay focused on the health and safety of our community,” a spokesperson for this university told The Diamondback Friday in response to the subcommittee’s letter.
This university’s Department of Resident Life said in an email on Sept. 13 that students, faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19 must report their positive results at return.umd.edu. If they are positive for COVID-19, students are also required to isolate for a minimum of five full days after the positive test result date.
Some students told The Diamondback last month that they felt confusion about the appropriate actions to take after testing positive for the virus. This university has seen a routine rise in cases at the beginning of each academic semester since fall 2020.
The Maryland Department of Health reports a higher case count than the university, but Neil Sehgal, an assistant health policy and management professor at this university, told The Diamondback last month that the numbers on-campus are likely not as accurate as they once were.
Due to the prevalence of at-home tests, the actual number of positive cases in a given area is underreported, Sehgal told The Diamondback.