UMD’s tentative fall reopening plan outlines return to normal campus operations

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By Jenn Attanasio, Clara Longo de Freitas, Rina Torchinsky and Eric Neugeboren

The University of Maryland on Wednesday released a tentative reopening plan that plans normal operations in the fall semester. The plan is subject to change depending on the development of public health the councils of officials from the state, county and university system of Maryland.

Next semester, the university expects dorms to be open to near capacity and anticipate no physical distancing requirements. Masks “may be” required, according to the school’s website.

The university has implemented several phases to guide the progress of the campus reopening.

The university is currently in phase 1, according to the school’s website. Phase 1 conditions include maintaining physical distance and the limited occupancy of buildings. Throughout all phases, vaccinations are strongly recommended, according to the site. Quarantine is no longer mandatory for people vaccinated without symptoms.

According to its website, the university expects it will move to Phase 2 on July 5 and Phase 3 on August 2. These dates are predictions, and the university anticipates changes in health guidelines and government regulations, according to the website.

In the planned phase 2, physical distancing and masks will be required, but some restrictions are expected to be relaxed. More university employees, such as researchers, will be able to return to campus, but phase 2 will still have limited capacity in the dormitories and dining halls.

Students and employees who show up on campus during Phase 2 will likely need to be tested for the coronavirus on a monthly basis.

[UMD to hold in-person commencement, allow guests]

Phase 3 involves almost 100 percent density on campus. As part of this phase, the university is currently planning the following measures:

Academics

  • Classrooms and laboratories will operate at full capacity.
  • Undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows will return to campus.
  • Libraries will be open with increased access for the campus community, without general public access.

Daily Precautions

  • Physical distancing will not be required.
  • Masks “may be required”.
  • COVID-19 testing will be required as needed, likely once a month.

Campus life

  • Catering services will operate at full capacity, with a return to Dinner anytime.
  • Student clubs will operate at full capacity.
  • Gyms and lounges will operate at full capacity.
  • The dormitories will be open almost to capacity. There will always be quarantine and isolation accommodations.

University employees

  • University sponsored trips will require the approval of the unit supervisor.
  • There will be no restrictions on shared office space or private offices.
  • Professors and staff will either be on campus or telecommute. Telecommuting requires the approval of a supervisor.
  • Researchers will be on campus.
  • There will be no restrictions for affiliates, contractors, technicians and consultants.

The university has also issued instructional guidelines for university employees. Fall classes will not be exclusively delivered remotely via “video conferencing systems” like Zoom, unless they were offered entirely online before the pandemic, according to the university’s website. Most of the summer courses will be offered online.

The university’s reopening plan is aligned with the state of Maryland’s “road map to recovery” and follows guidance from state, county and campus health officials, according to an e- Marshal Ann Wylie’s campus-wide Wednesday mail.

“We consider this to be a living document that can change as conditions change, or if our assumptions about what we think will be achievable by the fall don’t come true,” Wylie wrote. in the email.

[UMD opens COVID-19 vaccine appointments to all faculty, students and staff]


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