Imagine scrubbing down your house while the rest of the family’s out. Now multiply that by several thousand.

Residential Facilities intensified its standard winter-break cleaning program while Terps were away, disinfecting frequently touched surfaces inside student rooms. Residential Facilities housekeeping staff, along with hired contractors escorted by university staff, tackled doorknobs, light switches, bed frames and more during the process, which took place Jan. 7–18.

The disinfection was part of the University of Maryland’s efforts to prevent the spread of cold, flu and other viruses, including Adenovirus. The University Health Center is aware of 42 confirmed cases of UMD students who have tested positive for Adenovirus, a common cause of colds. Thirteen of those cases were Adenovirus 7, a strain capable of causing more severe illnesses. One student died due to an Adenovirus-related illness on Nov. 18.

For otherwise healthy people, the treatment for these types of illnesses includes rest, plenty of fluids and fever-reducing medicine. 

The university will continue to work with Maryland and Prince George’s County health authorities to monitor the impact of this virus as students return.

While the cleaning helps decrease the presence of Adenovirus germs on the targeted surfaces, it won’t prevent students experiencing symptoms from passing the virus to others.

The university advises washing hands often; avoiding those who are ill; refraining from sharing food, utensils, cups and water bottles; staying home if you’re sick; and continuing to keep high-touch surfaces clean with antibacterial cleaner, such as bleach wipes. For more information, visit health.umd.edu/adenovirus-resources.

Meanwhile, here’s a breakdown of the cleaning, by the numbers:

Residence hall cleaning infographic