My fellow Terps,
For over 160 years, the University of Maryland has proudly served the citizens of our state and the world. I have been fortunate enough to be part of this community for more than 25 of those years. Today, we officially begin the Fall 2020 semester, which will be like no other in our storied history.
To help with our efforts to phase in the resumption of on-campus activities, and out of an abundance of caution, we begin this semester with all undergraduate instruction delivered online. It is our hope and expectation that in-person and blended instruction will resume on September 14, because we believe that the full richness of a University journey comes from an on-campus environment, where a community of scholars, students and staff unite for an academic, research, residential, social, and athletic experience.
Our staff and faculty, along with many students, have worked all summer to develop comprehensive plans for campus-wide COVID-19 testing, isolation and quarantine protocols, contact identification and tracing, and a dashboard to transparently share data about the prevalence of the virus on our campus. As a result, our campus will look and feel different this semester.
Even as we begin this unprecedented semester, we must also remain focused on keeping our University moving forward:
- We will relentlessly pursue excellence in everything we do;
- We will celebrate our differences, and embrace different backgrounds and perspectives. There is a richness and a strength in our diversity as we work to be an anti-racist campus; and
- We will dedicate ourselves to our land-grant mission -- service to the state and to humanity.
We are connected
It is our collective responsibility to follow our “4Maryland” guidelines: wear a face-covering inside and outside, wash hands frequently, practice physical distancing, and stay home when you are sick.
I believe we must all learn to adapt to life with this virus. So that means cautiously reopening our physical campus while, first and foremost, prioritizing the health and safety of our campus and the surrounding community.
The Fall semester opens in the shadow of the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech and, tragically, in the wake of more senseless violence against Black lives. The twin pandemics of the virus and racial injustice have reminded us of two indelible truths. We must fight for the change we want. And we must be united in that fight if we are to persevere.
Finally, I want to recognize and thank every member of our community who worked so hard to get us to this day -- our amazing staff in housekeeping and grounds, housing and dining, facilities, the University Health Center, and everyone in the academic units in our colleges and schools. I know how much dedication and hard work each of you put in over the last few months, and I want you to know how much I appreciate you.
I want this to be a great fall semester, and I want a healthy and fulfilling experience for every one of our students, faculty and staff. We can do it together. TerrapinSTRONG.
Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland