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I write to share the heart-breaking information of the first known death, on April 1, 2020, of a member of our University community due to complications related to COVID-19. I do so with the consent of the family. He is Distinguished University Professor David C. Driskell, a renowned artist, art historian, collector, and curator.

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Under the Governor's directive, all Maryland residents must now shelter at home, except to leave for "an essential job or for an essential reason, such as obtaining food or medicine ... or other necessary purpose." Over one-half of the states are under a similar order. 
 
It is a reminder of our civic responsibility to keep ourselves and each other safe. Only then will we slow the spread of this pathogen that has upended our lives, shuttered wide swaths of the economy, and caused the number of unemployed workers to soar.

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Governor Hogan announced yesterday that all non-essential businesses in Maryland must close and reminded us that we are all in this together. We must continue to practice important preventive measures and social distancing, if we are to slow the transmission of this pandemic.

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Amidst the uncertainty of an invisible and rapidly unfolding health crisis, I pray that you and your loved ones are safe and well. 

Though we must keep our physical distance from each other, our resilience and actions are rooted in our obligations to each other. Our vulnerability connects us. This global emergency will demand much from us all, but our community is up to the challenge. Together we have the capacity to make it through, with determination and compassion.

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