Update on UMBC Plans for Fall 2021

UMBC prepares for a return to a vibrant campus community.

Key Points


  • Wider vaccine access and new public health guidance allow us to prepare for a return to a vibrant campus community.

  • Most courses will be offered face-to-face or in hybrid format during the Fall 2021 semester.

  • Preparations are underway to reopen residence halls with occupancy up to 95 percent.

  • Students, faculty, and staff are strongly encouraged to seek vaccination as soon as you become eligible.


Dear UMBC Community,


We are very pleased to share the good news that progress in COVID-19 vaccine access and new public health guidance about physical distancing now allow us to prepare for a Fall 2021 semester return to the vibrant campus and community life that we have all missed. We are planning for most courses and campus services to be offered face-to-face this fall.


We know that our students are especially eager to return to on-campus learning, residence halls, athletics, recreation, and other in-person activities. With the leadership of our COVID-19 Planning Coordinating Committee, faculty and staff across the University are working very hard to plan for a fall semester that offers these options with appropriate safety measures in place, as well as flexibility to meet diverse needs and individual health concerns. While detailed planning and risk assessments are still underway for some particular courses and activities, we can share these general updates:


  • Most courses during the Fall 2021 semester will be in-person or hybrid, as reflected in the Schedule of Classes published today. Graduate student registration opens today, and undergraduate student registration begins Tuesday, March 30, 2021. We will continue to make additions to the Schedule of Classes over the coming months.

  • We are preparing to reopen residence halls at up to 95 percent occupancy. Additional information is being shared with students this week.

  • The fully renovated Retriever Activities Center will offer expanded recreation facilities including a track, cardio-training, weight-training, spinning, group exercise space, and basketball courts.

  • Services for student well-being ﹘ including health, counseling, and spiritual resources, as well as student conduct and community standards ﹘ will reopen in a brand new facility adjacent to Erickson Field.

  • Planning is underway for reopening other facilities and community spaces, including the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery, The Commons, performance spaces, and galleries.

  • A full calendar of on-campus events open to both residential and off-campus students is being planned for fall.


While we look forward to a much more active on-campus community this fall, we also know that the pandemic is far from over and that the campus must remain vigilant and be prepared to modify our plans accordingly. We will continue to rigorously follow local, state, and federal public health guidance regarding such safety measures as testing, symptom tracking, mandatory mask wearing, hygiene, ventilation, physical distancing, and space occupancy. Supervisors and department chairs will work with faculty and staff on returning to work on the physical campus as appropriate.


Current public health guidance strongly suggests that as more students, faculty, and staff become vaccinated, the more we can expand in-person activities planned for the fall. The Governor has pledged that all individuals over the age of 16 will become eligible for vaccination in April 2021. We strongly encourage each of you to seek vaccination once you are eligible.


Public health conditions and plans are changing rapidly, and we understand that even good news can raise questions and concerns. We will continue to communicate frequently as more information about the Fall 2021 semester is available. In the meantime, please contact covid19@umbc.edu if you have immediate questions or concerns.


President Freeman Hrabowski

Provost Philip Rous


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Posted: March 29, 2021, 7:52 AM