BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents addressed last year’s high-profile deaths of two students at a meeting Friday on the Eastern Shore.
“These tragic deaths have been felt by the entire USM family,” said Chancellor Robert Caret. “We’re working very very closely with both campuses and the families to move on from these tragedies and to learn from them.”
Olivia Paregol was a freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park when she became ill. The teen from Howard County eventually died from a severe strain of adenovirus. According to published reports, it took 18 days for officials to notify the campus of an adenovirus outbreak, which eventually sickened more than 40 students.
Governor Larry Hogan called for an investigation, and on Friday, the regents approved the scope.
“It will be independent and thorough,” said Board of Regents Chair Linda Goodwin. She said a team including medical experts will look at a timeline of the outbreak and the response of the school.
Goodwin said the names of those looking into the outbreak would be made public by the end of the month.
In interviews with CBS News and WJZ, Paregol’s father has been critical of the University of Maryland’s response.
Last month, the family issued this statement to WJZ:
“We hope that a truly independent body with no ties to the University of Maryland will examine the circumstances around the university’s virus disclosures; determine what the university knew and when it knew about the outbreak; review the communications between the Prince George’s County Dept. of Health, the State Department of Health, the CDC and other private and public health leaders; assess the university’s compliance with its own documented infectious disease response policies; examine the timing associated with the health center’s knowledge of the developing adenovirus outbreak and its responsibility to inform students.”
Regents also received an update on the safeguards put in place following the death of Jordan McNair.
McNair, from Randallstown, collapsed from heat stroke during football practice last year.
A review was critical of the university and found McNair was not given an ice bath that could have saved his life.
William “Brit” Kirwan, the university system’s chancellor emeritus, told regents a majority of safeguards recommended in the wake of the tragedy have been put in place.
They include medical staff that no longer reports to the athletic department. The university is still looking for a head team physician.
Kirwan said all recommendations made in the Walters Report, an independent investigation into McNair’s death, should be fully in place by the end of the year. You can read the report here.
“We do absolutely believe that the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff are at the core of everything we do,“ Chancellor Caret said in Friday’s meeting.