University President Darryll J. Pines and Dr. Spyridon Marinopoulos, Health Center director, sent the following email to the campus community this morning:

Effective today, the University of Maryland is implementing urgent interventions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on our campus:

  • All students living in residence halls and on-campus fraternity and sorority houses must sequester in place, effective at noon today.
  • All students living off-campus in the Greater College Park area are strongly encouraged to stay home as much as possible and limit your activities.
  • All in-person instruction for undergraduate and graduate courses will transition to online instruction beginning on Monday, Feb. 22.
  • Approved laboratory research activities, already operating at 50% capacity and with strict masking and distancing precautions, may continue as scheduled.

These measures will be in effect for at least one week, through Saturday, Feb. 27.

Earlier this week, we notified you of a rise in COVID-19 cases in our community and took measures to mitigate viral spread. Since then, we have experienced a further increase in such cases. Following this increase, these actions were recommended by university health officials and the Campus Infectious Disease Management Executive Committee.

Under the sequester-in-place directive, all students living in residence halls are instructed to remain in your residence halls and in your rooms as much as possible. The requirement for all campus citizens to test twice-monthly remains in effect; the Stamp Student Union will remain open only for COVID testing and grab-and-go food. RecWell facilities will be closed. Students may go outside to get fresh air only in the area immediately surrounding their residence hall and to pick-up food from dining halls.

Only those student employees working in the Departments of Resident Life, Residential Facilities and Dining Services and testing in the Stamp are permitted to report to work—as these are essential operations to keep campus open—all while wearing a properly fitted mask and maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance from others.

Wicomico Hall has been opened to add isolation capacity for positive cases, and additional space will open as needed.

Remain Vigilant 4 Maryland
We have reached a critical point in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, and we all have a responsibility to to keep our community and our neighbors safe. It is imperative that every campus citizen follow our 4 Maryland protocols and these new interventions.

Failure to abide by these safety protocols will have significant consequences for every member of our community. Students not following these measures will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct and will face serious consequences, which can include suspension and expulsion. We all have a responsibility to keep our community safe. If you witness behavior that could put our community at risk, please notify the university by submitting concerns to the ethics, compliance and integrity website.

We need your help to reverse the uptick in positive cases. Whether you live on or off campus, practice the 4 Maryland protocols. Avoid gatherings on and off campus. Remain in your room as much as possible. These preventive measures represent our best defense against the virus and our best strategy to protect our friends and colleagues from further spread.

Lastly, we remind you to follow our COVID-19 safety rules at all times. Even if you have recently tested negative, your test is only capturing one moment in time. You may still become infected and spread the virus to others after you leave the testing site, or you may already be infected and it may be too early in the process for the test to detect the infection. Do not let down your guard.

We recognize the distressing impact that COVID-19 is having on the mental health of our community. If you need assistance, the Counseling Center can provide support.

In the coming days, we will continue to use data to inform our decisions and evaluation of the status of these new measures. Please remain vigilant!

Sincerely,

Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland

Spyridon Marinopoulos, MD, FACP
Director, University Health Center
Chief Medical Officer