Students in the dorm have been told to stay in their rooms as much as possible and avoid public places. Communal bathrooms in the building can be used by only two students at a time.
In the past two weeks, 23 students in Denton Hall have tested positive for the coronavirus, Mullings said. Those students are being isolated, and nine others who came into contact with someone with a positive case have been moved to quarantine housing. The dorm has 247 students.
More than 150 people across the campus were in quarantine housing Thursday, the most recent data shows.
Students in Denton Hall are allowed to go on outdoor walks and pick up packages. But the guidance from the university prevents them from activities like visiting friends or working out in on-campus gyms. Each student will be provided a case manager and have access to food delivery, Mullings said.
U-Md. resumed in-person classes Monday after holding classes online for two weeks, a delay that allowed officials to expand testing, said Darryll J. Pines, the university’s president.
“We have now conducted 20,000 tests over a 15- to 21-day period, and our positivity rate is 1.1 percent,” Pines told state lawmakers at a virtual meeting Wednesday. During that time frame, 212 tests came back positive.
The university launched a second round of testing this week, which resulted in 39 positive cases, the university’s coronavirus dashboard shows.
But the union that represents about 3,400 employees on the College Park campus — including housekeepers, librarians and bus drivers — said it is also worried about more than 190 positive cases reported to the university by students and employees who were not tested on campus. College Park officials call these cases “unconfirmed.”
This week, 75 students and faculty reported contracting the virus, the school’s coronavirus dashboard shows. Those cases have not been confirmed by the university.
Todd Holden, president of the College Park chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said members and their families are at risk as the caseload of confirmed and unconfirmed cases on and around campus surpasses 400.
The uptick of cases in Denton Hall has stoked the fears of union leaders, who have been asking the university to negotiate new safety standards since the onset of the pandemic. Housekeepers this summer clamored for more protective equipment and mandatory testing.
“They have not come to bargain with us. They are talking to us and telling us about all the problems that are on campus, but they are not coming to any agreement with us,” said Stuart Katzenberg, a local AFSCME union leader. “Their know-it-all attitude is what got our members and students and the community sick.”