Dear Maryland community,
Beginning with the very first signs of COVID-19 last spring, the University of Maryland has been focused on the health and safety of our community. Toward that end, slowing the spread of the virus within our campus and our surrounding communities has been and continues to be a major priority and has guided our decision-making.
Despite our vigilant efforts, the advent of colder weather with more of us spending more time indoors has led to increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases nationwide and here in Maryland. The U.S. recorded more than 100,000 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, which is the highest single-day total since the pandemic began. Research conducted by our faculty and our colleagues at the University of Maryland, Baltimore on the impact of climate on infection rates also suggests that we should expect a continued escalation of COVID-19 cases in our region.
New and Updated: Post-Thanksgiving Classes, Testing and Staffing
Given these public health indicators, I am today announcing that courses will transition entirely to online instruction, with very few exceptions, following the Thanksgiving break. Additionally, Eppley Recreation Center, Stamp Student Union and other student service locations will scale back operations beginning Wednesday, November 25 and will maintain only limited services for the remainder of the semester. Also, as happens annually, dining halls will be closed from 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 24 until 4:00 p.m. Sunday, November 29.
All students who elect to travel away from campus for Thanksgiving should plan to remain away for the duration of the semester. Students who choose to remain in residence halls for Thanksgiving may stay in their residence halls until the conclusion of the semester. Resident Life will be communicating directly with residential students later today with more guidance.
We will offer campus-wide COVID-19 testing the week prior to Thanksgiving. Details will be provided by the University Health Center in the coming weeks. Regular on-campus testing will continue after Thanksgiving break.
Like many of you, I wish for a return to normalcy for our university, including the full resumption of in-person classes and extracurricular activities. Yet this virus continues to demand vigilance, patience and perseverance. I believe the actions outlined above are prudent, data-driven, and in the best interests of our university community.
Working together, our collective efforts have helped mitigate the spread of the virus and allowed us to slowly increase the amount of programs and activities on campus. As you know, we delayed the resumption of in-person instruction, conducted campus-wide testing of faculty, staff and students, implemented daily symptom checks, launched online healthy behavior training, distributed TerrapinSTRONG masks, installed thousands of 4 Maryland signs, and continued investing in our online learning environment. Our decisions have been communicated transparently and grounded in data, much of which is displayed daily in our COVID-19 Dashboard.
The single largest factor in our success has been the widespread adoption of the 4 Maryland healthy behaviors -- wear a mask, practice physical distancing, wash hands frequently, and stay home if you’re sick. On behalf of every member of our campus community, I thank you for doing your part and for demonstrating such care for your fellow Terps during the past several months. We will emerge from this pandemic strengthened for having faced this challenge together. Until then, let us remain TerrapinSTRONG.
Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland