Message from the Vice President: Thanksgiving Break and Support for Students

UMD Division of Student Affairs logo
Friday, November 20, 2020

The following message was sent to Terp Families from the Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Patty Perillo, and the Director of Parent and Family Affairs, Brian Watkins, on November 20, 2020.

Dear Terp Families,

We are so proud of our students. They have worked hard all semester to practice safe, healthy behaviors and to keep our campus community COVID-19 positive cases very low. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 numbers across the nation are increasing and are expected to surge over the next few months. This includes an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases in the State of Maryland and here in Prince George’s County. As a result, last week UMD announced plans to immediately transition to online instruction. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued a rollback to phase 2 restrictions, and leaders in Prince George’s County also issued stricter guidance earlier this week. We recognize there may be added stress created by the recent changes announced for the remainder of the semester.  Like all of you, we have to do everything we can to mitigate the escalation of COVID-19 cases in our region. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

As there is a great deal of updated information related to the fall semester, we wanted to write to ensure you have this information in one place and can discuss it with your student. The information below also includes an important update about dining options for students who remain on or close to campus for Thanksgiving break.

Thanksgiving Break and Remainder of Semester

Thanksgiving Break Dining Options

Students who choose to remain on campus for Thanksgiving break will have the following options:

  • The Diner (Ellicott) will be open for limited hours serving a limited menu each day of the holiday break, including Thanksgiving Day. Dining plans and Dining Dollars will be accepted.
  • The Commons Shop (located in the South Campus Dining Hall building) will be open for limited hours during the break for students to purchase food using a dining plan meal swipe.  Additionally, students may use their Dining Dollars, Terrapin Express, or credit cards for retail purchases in the Shop.
  • For the most current information about dining options, The Commons Shop hours, and food availability near campus, please visit the Dining Services website.
  • Additionally, the Campus Pantry is available for students who experience food insecurity and need emergency access to food during and after the break based on the following schedule: 
    • ​Friday, November 20 - 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
    • Friday, December 4 - 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

 COVID-19 Testing and Travel

In an effort to ensure that students keep themselves and others safe, additional testing dates were offered the week of November 16 for all students planning to depart at Thanksgiving. If your student is traveling to you or to visit others and they missed these testing dates, encourage them to be tested before they leave campus/College Park. Students have access to off-campus testing locations. For those remaining on or close to campus, they should reserve a testing appointment for the week after Thanksgiving, December 1-4.

On-Campus Quarantine and Isolation Housing

The On-Campus Quarantine and Isolation housing program will stop admitting newly diagnosed or exposed students on Tuesday, December 8, for the remainder of the semester. Students who test positive for COVID-19 on December 8 or thereafter will need to isolate at their permanent residence or elsewhere.

Resources and Support

We are here to support you via the Terp Family eConnection portal and Office of Parent and Family Affairs website. You will find a wealth of information regarding resources and services to support students provided in the Terrapin Guide, our handbook designed just for parents and families. It is available in English and Spanish.

We care deeply about the health and safety of every member of our community—our students, our faculty, our staff, and their families. As we head into a season of thanks, may you be reminded that we are grateful to be in partnership with you, our families, as we know it is part of the formula for our students’ success.

May you and yours remain healthy and well,

Patricia A. Perillo, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs

Brian L. Watkins
Director, Parent and Family Affairs

VPSA Message, Terp Family