Dear campus community,
In the coming weeks, we will cross the one-year threshold since the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated remote instruction for the vast majority of our courses and telework for most of our operations. I want to thank all of you for your resilience and resolve during this challenging time.
To our faculty: your embrace of remote learning provided, and continues to provide, students with new and innovative approaches to course delivery and learning, and enabled us to fulfill our instructional mission. To our staff: your flexibility and dedication has supported operations under extremely challenging circumstances. To our students: your flexibility and ability to quickly adapt to new ways of learning and connecting with each other virtually has been inspiring. As we reflect on the past year, we eagerly look ahead to fall 2021, when we intend to welcome everyone back to have an in-person experience on our campus, as long as conditions permit us to do so safely.
The promise of multiple vaccines and widespread inoculation against the COVID-19 virus enables us to plan for a resumption of in-person classes for the fall 2021 semester and a return to more normal operations. Though we cannot forecast with certainty, we expect that the majority of our campus community will be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine before the beginning of the fall semester. Classes designed for in-person delivery are expected to be delivered face-to-face on campus this fall semester, and staff will be expected to resume their on-campus roles. We recognize, however, that some courses may make use of multiple modes of delivery (e.g., blended, primarily in-person with online content), and that under special circumstances, some staff may be able to accomplish their jobs partially through telework. As we have in the past, we will maintain our focus on the health and safety of our campus community and adapt as necessary based on public health guidance.
I recognize that returning to campus after a long time away will be an adjustment for many. Although technology has made it possible to connect with each other, teach, learn, and communicate from a distance, the interactions of faculty, staff, and students on campus contribute to a vibrant community. Being together brings with it much more than teaching a class or staffing an office. It allows faculty, staff, and students to interact more frequently and get to know one another; researchers to innovate and collaborate; and students to benefit from all that our campus has to offer.
More information regarding University vaccine distribution plans will be communicated by the University Health Center when available. At this time, we have not yet received a supply of vaccines from the state. In the meantime, I encourage you to take advantage of non-University opportunities to get vaccinated. Find more information regarding COVID-19 vaccines in the state of Maryland. For those currently outside of Maryland, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a tool to find your state health department’s resources on COVID-19.
Thank you again for all of your efforts and contributions to our campus community, and for your continued commitment to following the 4 Maryland guidelines. I look forward to our return to campus this fall and welcoming you back in person.
Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland