Dear Campus Community,
We write to update you on our plans for the spring semester. As it has been from the beginning, our decision-making is guided by the careful monitoring of the COVID-19 situation and by campus and local health officials.
Our plans for the spring semester are being developed in a rapidly evolving environment. Every day, we learn more about the virus and about the omicron variant that is currently spreading through our communities. We know that omicron spreads rapidly, more rapidly than any previous strain. It is also clear that people who are vaccinated and have a booster are much more likely to avoid serious illness and hospitalization. As we learn more, our plans are subject to change based on the latest public health information and guidance.
Spring 2022 Semester
Our plan is to begin the spring 2022 semester as planned and in-person on January 24. After weighing all available data and recommendations, we plan to emphasize the following four primary strategies during the spring semester to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our highly vaccinated community:
Vaccine Booster Requirement
- Every member of our community – faculty, staff and students – will be required to remain up to date with the vaccine mandate by obtaining a mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine booster by January 24 or within 14 days of becoming eligible. You may upload your booster information at www.myuhc.umd.edu by clicking on “Enter My COVID-19 Vaccination Information.”
- Please note that this requirement goes beyond the booster mandate issued by the University System of Maryland for students living in on-campus residence halls.
- All members of our campus community (without approved medical or religious exemptions) are reminded that compliance with vaccination policy is a condition of being physically on campus. As has been our practice from the beginning of the pandemic, there will continue to be significant consequences for students, faculty and staff for non-compliance up to and including suspension and termination of employment.
- Students arriving from outside the United States: Please make every effort to receive your booster before your arrival. If you don't currently have access to the Pfizer or Moderna booster at your location, please contact ISSS for information on how to meet your booster requirement immediately upon your arrival.
- All faculty, staff and students must be tested by a rapid antigen test (including home tests) no more than 48 hours before coming to campus on January 24.
- Find resources for off-campus testing options.
- If you test positive, you may not travel to campus and you must follow all applicable CDC guidance for isolation and testing as well as any additional guidance issued by your state and/or county.
- All community members who remain unvaccinated, including those with medical or religious exemptions, will be required to test twice weekly throughout the spring semester.
- Proper wearing of masks and face-coverings remains one of our most effective methods to reduce transmission. The indoor mask-wearing mandate from Prince George’s County remains in effect, as it was for the fall semester.
- Masks must be worn at all times while indoors, including in all offices, residence halls and dining areas (except while actively eating or drinking).
- KN95 masks are required in all classroom settings and recommended everywhere. Continuing the practice from the fall semester, fully vaccinated instructors may remove their mask to address the class, provided they maintain 6 feet of physical distance from others at all times.
- KN95 masks may be obtained from the information desk at Stamp Student Union.
I AM 4Maryland Pledge
- Containing the spread of the virus to the greatest extent possible is a shared responsibility for every member of our campus community. Thus, all faculty, staff and students must electronically pledge to abide by all health protocols.
On behalf of all 50,000+ members of our community, we would like to thank each of you for remaining diligent in our collective efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19. We know that we all want a return to a full spring semester experience but we are also aware that many are feeling anxious. We are committed to doing everything we can to continue operating in person while pivoting to new and additional health measures as needed, as new information, data and trends become available.
Complete information about our COVID-19 precautions, policies and protocols can be found at umd.edu/4Maryland, where they are updated regularly.
At this point, there is little doubt that we will continue to see positive cases, both in our region and on our campus. Throughout this pandemic, we have learned that we are stronger when we act together. Let us commit ourselves to doing everything we can to protect ourselves and others in the coming weeks as we learn to manage life with this virus.
We will get through this together.
Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland
Jennifer King Rice
Senior Vice President and Provost
Spyridon S. Marinopoulos, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.P.
Director, University Health Center
Chief Medical Officer