COVID-19 Vaccination: Fall 2021 Expectations

Letter from President Darryll J. Pines

Dear University community,

We hope you are all enjoying the summer months -- staying cool, staying safe and taking some time away from work. Here in College Park, we are actively planning for a return to full campus operations for the fall semester. As a result of our campus community working together to follow public health guidance, our COVID-19 positivity rate is essentially 0% and our full vaccination rate is 74%, metrics that give us great confidence in a safe return to campus. The University System of Maryland (USM) mandatory vaccination requirement remains in effect for every individual who returns to campus, except for those individuals who have been granted a medical or religious exemption.

This memo outlines expectations for every member of our campus community for the upcoming fall semester. As has been our practice from the very beginning of this pandemic, we will continue to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 within our community, including all variants, and follow guidance from the CDC, and state and local health officials. We will not hesitate to implement more stringent measures and additional consequences for non-compliance when warranted.

If You Are Fully Vaccinated:
During the present time when the overall risk of COVID-19 is low, the risk of fully vaccinated individuals to become infected or to transmit the virus is very low. Additionally, fully vaccinated persons appear to be protected against severe disease caused by the Delta variant.

If you are fully vaccinated, you:

  • will not have to wear a mask (but are welcome to if you choose).
  • will not need to be tested regularly.
  • will not need to quarantine if you come into contact with a positive individual, unless you have symptoms of COVID-19.

If you are vaccinated but have not yet confirmed your status with the University, please visit return.umd.edu.

If You Are Unvaccinated:
Every member of our campus community is expected to comply with the USM vaccination mandate (with narrow exemptions for medical or religious reasons). We are in the midst of an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and if you are unvaccinated, you are more likely to contract and spread the virus and to get seriously sick if you have contact with the virus. You face increased risk depending on a number of factors, including but not limited to: age, race, baseline health status and comorbidities (see the CDC list of medical conditions that cause increased risk). Serious illness from the virus may lead to hospitalization, disability and, in some cases, death. You also pose a risk to the people around you, as you may transmit the virus unknowingly. We strongly encourage you to get vaccinated as soon as possible. 

If you are unvaccinated, regardless if you have received an exemption, you:

  • are required to wear a mask indoors at all times and while outdoors in crowded spaces.
  • are required to sign a memorandum acknowledging the health risks of being unvaccinated.
  • are required to comply with regular, twice-a-week on-campus COVID-19 testing.

As previously communicated, undergraduate and graduate students who are unvaccinated without an exemption will not be allowed to live in the residence halls or in on-campus chapter houses nor have access to campus facilities, including academic buildings, and may face the cancellation of their fall and spring course registration.

If a staff or faculty member does not comply with masking, testing or any other health and safety requirements, progressive discipline will be implemented, up to and including termination.

Special Health Conditions 
If you have been told by your physician or healthcare provider that you have a weakened immune system, you may need to continue to take precautions to maximally protect yourself when you return to the campus, regardless of your vaccination status. We encourage you to consult with your physician for additional guidance.

In Closing
We continue to maintain complete information about our response to COVID-19 at www.umd.edu/4Maryland, including links to the latest health information about the virus.

This is a critical moment for our campus. Every faculty member, staff member and student plays a vital role in the health and safety of our University community. We ask that each of you consider your health and the health of others, and comply with the vaccine mandate. Getting vaccinated remains the best way to ensure that we have a full and rich experience during the forthcoming fall semester.


Sincerely,

Darryll J. Pines

 


Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland
He/Him/His

 

Spyridon S. Marinopoulos, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.P.
Director, University Health Center
Chief Medical Officer
He/Him/His

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