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COVID-19 Information

UMD Closes Early; Study Abroad, Big Ten Athletics, NCAA Tourneys Canceled

Dramatic Actions Designed to Limit Spread of Virus

By Maryland Today Staff

Testudo statue

Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

The University of Maryland canceled classes and closed administrative offices today as part of an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

This article was updated on March 15.

The University of Maryland canceled classes and closed administrative offices Friday, beginning Spring Break a day early, after Gov. Larry Hogan shuttered public schools for two weeks, banned large gatherings and told nonessential state workers to telecommute.

The Big Ten Conference ended all athletics for the rest of the academic year, and NCAA tournaments and championships will not be held due to escalating concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus.

As part of its continuing prevention measures and responses, the university on Thursday suspended all Spring 2020 Education Abroad programs in Europe, and deep-cleaned two buildings used by people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. On Saturday, as travel bans and university closures multiplied worldwide, UMD announced the suspension of all Education Abroad programs.

After Spring Break, the university will reduce operations and cancel classes the week of March 23 and will hold all classes online from March 30 to at least April 10.

Hogan announced that a Prince George’s County man who is one of the 12 people in the state with confirmed cases of the virus contracted it without traveling abroad.

“The first case of COV-19 community transmission in Maryland means we are entering a new phase of working to mitigate and limit the spread of this pandemic,” he said. “What we are seeing now is what we have been anticipating and preparing for over the last several weeks.”

The health and safety of the university community remains paramount during this rapidly evolving situation, and university officials are making decisions and providing updates based on the latest information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, University System of Maryland, and state and local public health officials.

Education Abroad
Following President Trump’s announcement of significant new restrictions on travel to the U.S. from Europe, Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin said the university was requiring all students currently studying abroad in Europe to return to their home of record as soon as possible. On Saturday, she expanded the order to cover students at all overseas locations because of increased travel restrictions and university closures at UMD study abroad locations around the world.

Because COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic and these locations have been designated CDC Warning Level 3, all travelers returning to the U.S. from European destinations will be required to both self-monitor and self-isolate for 14 days upon return. Rankin said the university was following up separately with students and their emergency contacts to provide resources and additional guidance.

"I want to emphasize that we have reached the decision out of deep and growing concern for the health and safety of our students," she wrote in a campuswide email on Saturday. "We are requiring students to act immediately and cooperate with the Education Abroad staff to come home as soon as possible to avoid additional health risks, further unanticipated travel restrictions, and other serious problems."

See Rankin’s full message here.

The Big Ten Conference announced Thursday that in addition to its men’s basketball tournament, all conference and non-conference competitions are canceled through the end of the academic year, including spring sports that compete into May and June. It also put a moratorium on all on- and off-campus recruiting for the foreseeable future.

The NCAA on Thursday canceled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, in which the Terps men and women were expected to compete, as well as all remaining winter and spring championships.

The conference said in a statement it will use this time to work with medical experts and institutional leadership to determine next steps.

“This is an unprecedented situation that is much bigger than basketball,” men’s basketball Head Coach Mark Turgeon wrote on Twitter after the Big Ten Tournament’s cancelation.

Building Cleanings
Four classrooms in Knight Hall were closed Wednesday for cleaning, and five master’s students and faculty who attended the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting conference last week are self-quarantining for 14 days. They may have been in a conference classroom with an attendee who, according to a tweet from Investigative Reporters and Editors, was diagnosed on Tuesday.

Lucy Dalglish, dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, wrote supporters Thursday afternoon that none of the Merrill College attendees has exhibited symptoms of COVID-19.

The Manokin Building, located in the Discovery District, was closed for cleaning after a non-UMD employee who works there was tested for COVID-19, with results pending, Vice President and Chief Information Officer Jeff Hollingsworth announced Wednesday. UMD Division of Information Technology workers were instructed to leave immediately and told to work remotely yesterday.

"We acknowledge that this can be distressing news, and I remind all to continue practicing the prevention behaviors posted on," Hollingsworth wrote.


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