Message from the Vice President: Important Updates to Begin the Spring 2021 Semester

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Friday, January 15, 2021

The following message was sent to university students by Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Patty Perillo, on Friday, January 15, 2021.


Dear Terp,

We look forward to beginning the spring 2021 semester, and welcoming some of you back to campus and welcoming others to campus for the first time!

I hope you have had a relaxing and enjoyable winter break and connected with your loved ones in safe and joyful ways. We have missed you. Campus is simply not the same without you here. Some of you are returning to campus during a time when we are experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases in Prince George's County and the State of Maryland, but please know we are prepared and your health and safety is our top priority.

We want you to be healthy and well and we also want to support you in finding ways to connect with each other in safe, physically distant ways. You will hear more about these offerings soon but I wanted you to know we listened to your concerns and we are responding.

As some of you prepare to return to College Park, here are a few things we want you to know:

  • For the first two weeks of the semester, all courses will be online.
  • All students living on or near campus will be required to be tested within 10 days before arriving on campus, once on campus, and every two weeks thereafter.
  • Face coverings are now required in all public places, outdoors or indoors, even where you are able to maintain 6 feet of distance from others.
  • Those returning to campus must continue to complete daily symptom monitoring.
  • Students in quarantine or isolation will now be required to stay 10 days whether they are being quarantined for possible exposure, or isolated with symptoms or a positive test result.

Starting the Semester Virtually
For the first two weeks of the semester, all courses will be online. All activities, events and programs will remain virtual during that time as we want to wait for students to be tested on campus before we begin to offer in person opportunities for engagement. However, there are many ways to get involved safely. Watch for your Keep Connected E-newsletter every Wednesday for the latest updates and programs.

COVID-19 Testing Requirements
Wearing masks and maintaining physical distance are essential strategies to reduce the spread of the virus. Testing remains another critical component of COVID-19 mitigation. For the spring semester, all students living on or near campus will be required to:

  1. Submit confirmation of a negative COVID-19 test prior to your arrival on campus for the spring semester. The test must be administered within 10 days of your first day on campus. If you live in a residence hall, you will not be permitted to check in to your residence hall or have building swipe access if this requirement is not met. Students will be asked to sequester for the first two weeks of the semester and all classes will be online.
  2. Get tested again, as soon as possible upon your arrival, or at the most within two weeks after your arrival and before in-person instruction begins.
  3. Get tested at least every two weeks during the spring semester.
  4. Attest your COVID-19 test results at the Keep Terps Safe Portal (return.umd.edu).

The University Health Center will conduct large-scale, campus-wide testing events. Visit the Keep Terps Safe Portal (return.umd.edu) to view available testing dates and times, schedule an on-campus COVID-19 testing appointment, and attest your results. Failure to confirm your test results may result in referral to the Office of Student Conduct for non-compliance.

Face Coverings
As of January 16, 2021, Prince George's County will require face coverings to be worn in all public places, outdoors or indoors, even where you are able to maintain 6 feet of distance from others. Face coverings are not required during vigorous exercise outdoors. This means that in all locations on campus and in the surrounding community, except for your private residence, a face covering must be worn at all times.

Symptom Monitoring
Those returning to campus must continue to complete daily symptom monitoring on the UMD app or at the Keep Terps Safe Portal (return.umd.edu). This is one of our key mitigation strategies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Quarantine and Isolation Housing
Consistent with last semester, residential students who test positive, and/or have been exposed to a close contact who has tested positive, will be asked to move to quarantine and isolation housing in Leonardtown or on Fraternity Row. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has offered new quarantine guidelines. Students in quarantine or isolation will now be required to stay 10 days whether they are being quarantined for possible exposure, or isolated with symptoms or a positive test result.

Vaccine Dissemination
As the State of Maryland releases more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, we will provide an equitable vaccine distribution process in line with state and county guidelines. We are planning to hold clinics on campus to vaccinate our students, faculty and staff. We currently do not have any vaccines on campus, but will communicate our vaccination schedule as soon as we know when we expect to receive a supply from the state.

The health and safety of our community is our fundamental priority. We are committed to ongoing work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We are in this together and we will work together 4 Maryland to continue to keep each other and our campus community safe and well.

We are here for you. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at vpsa@umd.edu.

Be well and know that I cannot wait to see you soon,

Patty Perillo
Vice President for Student Affairs

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