We are entering a crucial phase in our ongoing battle against the spread of COVID-19 on our campus. The cooler temperatures will keep us indoors more often, our immune systems will be tested by the traditional flu season, and all of us face the fatigue of the pandemic’s seventh month.
Our collective hard work has helped us keep infection rates relatively low on our campus. This has helped us begin to reopen facilities and services to our community. Students living in residence halls can now have guests. Dining Halls offer dine-in service. Intramural sports are about to commence.
We should not take these steps forward for granted. We expect a seasonal increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in and around our campus. We will not hesitate to reverse these decisions or make changes to our academic or campus operations if the situation warrants.
As always, we can continue to mitigate the spread by avoiding attending or hosting large gatherings, completing the daily electronic symptom check, and reporting any positive cases from off-campus testing to the Health Center HEAL line at (301) 405-4325.
We must also rededicate ourselves to the 4 Maryland behaviors:
- Wear a face-covering;
- Washing your hands frequently;
- Maintain physical distancing;
- And if you feel sick, stay home.
We continue to prioritize the health and safety of our community. We monitor COVID-19’s presence on our campus and in our region on a daily basis. We update our dashboard every morning. We have funded research into the presence of the coronavirus in our air, surfaces and wastewater. And we maintain regular communication with city, county and state officials to ensure that our approach is comprehensive and well-coordinated beyond our campus.
None of this is easy. Changing our behaviors -- and keeping up our guard -- is exhausting and mentally taxing. If you need more support, there are resources available through the Counseling Center, including telehealth. We will continue taking care of ourselves and one another by staying focused and continuing our collective efforts. Thank you for everything you have done, and will continue to do, for the University of Maryland.
Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland