The Republican-led Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic launched a probe this week into the University of Maryland’s COVID-19 policy for students.
“Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) has joined forces with all Majority Members to shed light on coercive and potentially harmful COVID-19 policies that are reemerging at the University of Maryland,” the subcommittee wrote in a press release on Friday. “Under the University’s new directive, Maryland students who test positive for COVID-19 are to be immediately removed from their dorms and forced into isolation, either at a nearby hotel or by boarding a flight home—presumably at their own expense.”
A spokesperson for the University of Maryland confirmed to Newsweek on Friday that they had received a letter from the Select Subcommittee.
“Throughout the pandemic, the University of Maryland has made decisions that prioritize the safety of our community and designed policies in full alignment with local and national public health guidance,” the spokesperson told Newsweek. “During the public health emergency and today, we stay focused on the health and safety of our community.”
Over the past few months, the GOP-led Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic has continued to investigate issues relating to COVID-19, such as the origins of the novel virus and how different states responded to the pandemic.
According to the University of Maryland’s university health center, students who test positive and are living in “residence halls or university owned fraternity and sorority houses will need to isolate at their permanent home or another off-campus location if they test positive.”
“The university does not provide designated isolation housing on campus,” the university health center says.
Students who test positive for COVID-19 are allowed to end their isolation on the sixth day if they’ve been fever-free and without fever medication for 24 hours; symptoms have been resolved and they receive a negative COVID-19 test result.
In a statement announcing the probe, Wenstrup said, “Maryland seems to be reinstituting the same negative policies it implemented during the beginning of the pandemic at the expense of its students…presumably, it’s the students’ parents—not your university—that are footing the bill, which begs the question of how Maryland spent the federal Coronavirus dollars it received.”
In March, the Select Subcommittee heard testimony from epidemiologist Dr. Tracy Beth Hoeg who spoke about school closures and COVID-19 mitigation measures.
“We do have some good data that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showing that there was a significant association between social closures and increasing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. And we have data showing increased suicide rates as well in the Journal of Pediatrics that especially affected males—adolescent males and younger males as well. The increase really started in the summer and fall of 2020, those suicide rates,” Hoeg said.