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Dehumidifiers, Humidity Sensors Installed In 19 University Of Maryland Dorms To Combat Mold Problems

COLLEGE PARK, MD. (WJZ) — University of Maryland students are back on campus and those living in dorms arrived to some changes.

Hundreds of students were affected by mold last year in College Park, to the point where many needed to be moved off campus out of the dorms so rooms could be cleaned.

As a new year begins, 19 dorms have at least some changes to deal with moisture and mold issues.

Officials finished more than 100 projects this summer, and decals in many dormitory windows are part of an educational campaign to lessen moisture.

"We knew we had to take a comprehensive look across the campus. So, we went and surveyed and looked at every hall, tailored to a multi-faceted program on how to address the moisture in each of the halls. And each of the halls is a little bit different," said Andrea Crabb, director of residential facilities.

The issue grabbed national headlines after the death of freshman Olivia Paregol. The 18-year-old was one of six students who contracted adenovirus and her family questioned whether a mold outbreak made her condition worse.

"It didn't help the illness. I think that's a really fair statement. We don't know that there's causation, yet, but it didn't help," Paregol's father said.

Paregol's dorm, Elkton Hall, had dozens of rooms affected by mold, including hers.

Over the summer, the University installed dehumidifiers and humidity sensors in all the rooms.

"We wanted to make sure that we put in place mitigation to where if this happened again, we wouldn't have to react," Crabb said.

Facilities officials said a rehab project is underway to modernize dorms on campus.

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