Maryland

University System of Maryland Board of Regents Meets to Discuss UMD's Deadly Virus Outbreak

The meeting comes a day after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan called for an immediate probe into the way the school responded to a virus outbreak that killed a student.

The University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents held a closed meeting Friday to discuss an investigation into the deadly virus outbreak that killed an 18-year-old University of Maryland student last fall.

The meeting comes a day after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan called for an immediate probe into the way the school responded to the circumstances surrounding 18-year-old Olivia Paregol’s death from adenovirus.

Paregol, a freshman at the university, contracted the virus and died in November 2018. Within a month, 35 cases of adenovirus were reported at the university.

In a statement Friday, chair Linda Gooden said the board agreed with the governor’s request for a review and that in their meeting, via private conference call, they would discuss their options to make sure that a “thorough, independent and transparent investigation of the work” President Loh and his team have done takes place.

After the Board's message, Michael Ricci, a spokesman for the governor, said in a statement that Hogan believes the Board of Regents “is the appropriate body to conduct this review.”

“This is certainly a step in the right direction towards getting answers for the Paregol family and the UMD community,” he said.

Olivia’s father, Ian Paragol, told News4’s Darcy Spencer that he wants to make sure the investigation is independent, and that he believes the university needed to let the campus community know there was an outbreak sooner. He said the school knew about the virus outbreak for 18 days before reporting it.

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“We just want to make sure no one else suffers,” he said. “Communication is proper and truthful.”

Olivia had a weakened immune system due to having Crohns disease. Previously, her dad questioned whether mold in the dorms may have contributed to her death, although the head of the campus health center said there's no "consistent connection" between mold and the virus.

“She went to the health center after they knew,” he said. “We hold the university and the President responsible.”

The family filed a notice of claim under the Maryland Tort Claims Act last week, laying the groundwork for a possible lawsuit against the school.

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