Telework Options Explored; Maryland Day Canceled; Commencement Decision Pending
UMD President Wallace D. Loh announced yesterday that university operations would transition to an online environment to minimize the risk of novel coronavirus transmission.
University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh sent the following email to the campus community last night:
Dear University of Maryland community,
We continue to monitor closely the COVID-19 outbreak, commonly known as coronavirus, and to provide updates based on the latest information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), University System of Maryland (USM), and state and local public health officials.
Currently, there are no known COVID-19 cases on our campus. However, there are 19 confirmed cases in the D.C.-Maryland-Northern Virginia region, including three in Prince George’s County. While the epidemiology of this virus is not yet fully known, public health experts have announced that community spread is occurring in parts of the United States. Therefore, we must implement policies now to mitigate the risk of transmission and minimize the chances of seeing cases on our campus.
Move to an online environment
Starting March 30 and continuing at least to April 10:
All classroom instruction will be conducted virtually; and
For functions that can be performed remotely, supervisors are encouraged to offer employees the option to telework. Guidance for employees and telework exceptions will be provided soon.
These temporary measures will be inconvenient, even disruptive. We will all have to operate in a different learning and working environment. We will manage the transition to online platforms with as minimal interruption as possible. I ask for your cooperation so that the health and safety of our community remains the top priority in this rapidly changing context.
Students should plan to depart for spring break and not return to campus until at least April 10. When preparing to leave for this break, please take all essential belongings, medications and materials from the residence hall and/or work space.
We urge that you exercise caution and judgment if you are planning any domestic or international travel. Please take into account the possibilities of travel delays and required self-isolation upon return.
The university will be open for staff Wednesday, March 18 to Friday, March 20, as planned.
The university will have reduced operations the week of March 23.
Classes are canceled this week, and students should not return to campus following spring break. Of course, we will provide exceptions and accommodations for those who need it.
Faculty training to prepare for the move to online instruction is already under way. In addition, faculty will also have this week to participate in further training sessions. The training will continue through March 27.
Except for classes, the university will remain open. Staff are expected to report for work that can be performed either by telecommuting or in person, as agreed upon with their supervisor.
Graduate students who work or conduct research on campus should consult with their supervisors on how they would conduct their work this week.
March 30 through at least April 10
As already indicated, all classroom instruction will be conducted online. Students will receive instructions on how to access their classes online.
Our goal is that students, faculty and staff have the necessary equipment and skills to learn and work from home.
To this end, we have created a new resource for faculty, keepteaching.umd.edu, which includes guidance, strategies, and resources to change from in-person instruction to virtual instruction. More information on training and resources will be forthcoming from Provost and Senior Vice President Mary Ann Rankin and the Division of Information Technology (under Vice President Jeff Hollingsworth).
All employees and supervisors should review the resources available at keepworking.umd.edu and determine what equipment, technology and resources are needed to allow staff to be successful in working remotely and conducting meetings online.
The Division of Information Technology will soon send out a technology survey to students to understand any unmet needs students may have.
Additional information for supervisors about employee-leave management, essential employees, and related workplace issues will be available from the University Human Resources Office (under Assistant Vice President Jewel Washington) in the coming days.
Additional information about residence halls, dining services, disability services, the Health Center, libraries, recreational services, shuttle services and other student resources on campus will be provided soon by Vice President for Student Affairs Patty Perillo.
Additional information about the university's research activities will be shared as soon as possible by Vice President for Research Laurie Locascio.
The university strongly discourages hosting or attending any non-essential large gatherings. We do not recommend scheduling any new large events that would take place in the next 60 days.
As a reminder, social distancing is strongly encouraged in all settings. As defined by CDC, social distancing means avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others. Events that do not allow for appropriate social distancing should be cancelled or moved to a larger facility. Social distancing takes into account both the size of the group and the size of the physical space.
I regret to announce that Maryland Day 2020 is canceled. A decision on Spring Commencement (May 2020) is pending.
Inclusivity, safety and respect
We continually strive for a campus community that is inclusive, safe, connected, respectful, and morally accountable. In this difficult time, I ask that we remind ourselves of the guidance for community support that has been shared by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, led by Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Georgina Dodge.
As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves, we will continue to keep you updated on any new developments and changes. Please check regularly umd.edu/virusinfo for the latest information.
I want to express my gratitude to the many UMD faculty, staff, and administrators who have worked tirelessly in recent weeks to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our campus community.
And, a big THANK YOU to every member of our Terp family for your patience and cooperation. We have faced challenges before with care and calm, and I know that we will pull together again to care for each other.
Wallace D. Loh
President, University of Maryland
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