Test, Boost, Put on a KN95 Mask and Head to Class
Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle
Group lab experiences, lunch in the Stamp’s food court and workouts in a campus gym are all back with today’s start of the Spring 2022 semester.
The omicron variant of COVID-19 is slowing its spread in Maryland, but it continues to pose a threat, prompting several new measures designed to protect Terps during the ongoing pandemic.
The University of Maryland has been tracking available data and following federal, state and Prince George’s County recommendations with the goal of ensuring a safe and enriching in-person academic and extracurricular experience. Once we’ve all met new requirements on testing, vaccination boosting and masking, the semester might look nearly normal.
Here are some of the ways we can all work together to increase that likelihood:
Everyone coming to campus this semester must get a negative result on a COVID-19 test—either a PCR or rapid-antigen one, including ones you can take at home—within 48 hours before arriving.
If you weren’t able to find one or to pick up one of the free tests offered at the Stamp Student Union last week, here are some suggestions for convenient in-person testing. None requires an appointment:
You aren’t required to upload your test results, said Dr. Spyridon Marinopoulos, University Health Center director. “This testing protocol is part of our collective responsibility to help minimize infection within our community. We are counting on each of you to do your part.”
But if you test positive, report it to the HEAL Line at 301.405.HEAL. Additionally, everyone residing in the state of Maryland must report a positive at-home test result to the state. Please follow CDC, state, county and campus guidance by isolating for a minimum of five days. A negative rapid antigen test at the beginning of day 6 is required before you can emerge from isolation and return to campus. You can find more information on what to do if you’ve tested positive or have had close contact with someone who has at health.umd.edu/HEAL.
Like in the fall semester, the campus’ quarantine and isolation housing inventory is limited. Priority for that space goes to on-campus students who live far from campus and need a plane or train to get back home. Students who live within driving distance from campus must isolate or quarantine off-campus, preferably at their home or with relatives, in a space where they are safe and comfortable and have the support they need.
All students, faculty and staff are required to get a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine booster by today, and to then upload that info to myuhc.umd.edu by clicking on “Enter My COVID-19 Vaccination Information.”
While the CDC no longer recommends the Johnson & Johnson booster in most cases, it’s okay if that’s what you received; it meets the booster requirement.
Not eligible yet? Then please get your shot within two weeks of eligibility.
Those who don’t get boosted or who have an approved medical or religious vaccination exemption will be required to test twice weekly and sign a risk memorandum until they become up-to-date.
Wear a KN95 Mask
The university continues to follow Prince George’s County’s mandate requiring masks to be worn indoors, except while working alone in a private office, inside a residence hall room or actively eating or drinking.
Now the university requires KN95 masks in all classroom settings—and recommends them for everywhere. Fully vaccinated instructors/presenters may remove their mask to address the class, provided they maintain 6 feet of physical distance from others at all times. Eating and drinking are not permitted in classrooms.
The Stamp Student Union Information Desk has masks available for students, faculty and staff. You can pick a new one up when yours has become soiled.
The Biden administration also plans to make N95 masks available free to all American adults at pharmacies and federal community health centers; additional information is forthcoming. N95 masks meet the university’s classroom mask requirements.
Take the Pledge
All faculty, staff and students must sign the new online “I Am 4 Maryland” pledge to abide by all health protocols by Jan. 24. It’s akin to the Student Honor Pledge, which asks Terps to commit to academic integrity.
Eat in … or Carry Out
Following an end-of-semester pivot to takeout only, Dining Services has resumed Anytime Dining while allowing a carry-out option during the first two weeks of the semester.
Arriving guests who decide to carry out pick up a disposable container by the entrance, fill it with the food they choose, grab utensils and head on out.
Everyone entering the dining halls must sanitize their hands and wear a mask, but can remove it while seated and actively dining.
As for other popular places to eat on campus, the food court in the Stamp Student Union will have de-densified seating areas for dining in. Cafes are all grab-and-go. University Libraries are not allowing food or drink inside, but Footnotes cafe in McKeldin Library dining area is open.
Show your proof at sports, arts events
Maryland Athletics put a vaccine requirement into effect on Jan. 9 for all indoor sporting events, including men's and women's basketball. All attendees 12 years of age and older must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result from a test within 48 hours prior to the game for entry into the Xfinity Center. UMD students, who are already required to be vaccinated, do not have to provide proof of vaccination.
At The Clarice, all patrons 12 years of age and up—including students—must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result from a test taken within 48 hours of the performance for entry into the venue. (At-home tests are not accepted).
Sign up to use recreational facilities
RecWell continues to require reservations for in-person group fitness classes, tennis courts, squash and racquetball courts, and lap swimming in the Natatorium.
All traditional activities are available, but basketball is only in Reckord Armory and Ritchie Coliseum; that allows cardio and weight equipment to be spread out in the gym and on the courts in Eppley.
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