FROSTBURG — As thousands of students prepare to return to Frostburg State University Aug. 17, a letter that requests a state-run COVID-19 test site in Allegany County is headed to Gov. Larry Hogan’s office.
Westernport resident Noah DeMichele, president of FSU’s Student Government Association, wrote the letter because he and many other folks at the campus are concerned about slowing the spread of the highly contagious virus.
FSU's plans to minimize COVID-19 risks include on-site testing for students throughout the fall semester, and universal testing of students, faculty and staff at the beginning of the semester.
According to guidelines announced by the University System of Maryland on Thursday, all students returning to campuses for the fall semester must test negative for the new coronavirus within 14 days of their arrival, and provide university officials with confirmation of the result.
As of Friday, a site locator on the Maryland Health Department’s website showed testing facilities in multiple locations across the state, but none in Allegany County.
“It’s a major concern,” DeMichele said and added Hogan has routinely warned Marylanders of ways, including testing, to decrease spread of COVID-19.
A COVID-19 testing facility in Allegany County would benefit FSU students as well as the surrounding community, which will roughly double in population when students return to the school, he said.
To slow spread of the virus, the governor earlier this week expanded a statewide order for face coverings.
He also directed the Maryland Department of Health to issue an advisory for all out-of-state travel.
The state continues to make unlimited quantities of tests available to any jurisdiction that needs them, and Marylanders are advised to use state-operated testing sites that send specimens to a lab at the University of Maryland Baltimore, Hogan said at that time.
“It feels … that Allegany County has been neglected,” DeMichele, a 2017 Mountain Ridge High School graduate and FSU political science and international studies major, said. “We’re not only worried about ourselves … we’re worried about the community as well.”
Hogan’s office late Friday afternoon said once it receives DeMichele’s letter, it will conduct a formal review and response.