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Retriever Ready: Spring Semester Plans

October 16, 2020 11:30 AM

Dear UMBC Community,

We know that you are eager to learn more about UMBC’s plans for the spring 2021 semester. First, we want to thank all of you for your work to keep our campus community safe and to support our students and colleagues during this unusual and challenging time. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we know that many of you are experiencing fatigue and wondering when we can return to normal. However, we also know that this crisis has not passed and public health experts expect high transmission numbers well into the spring. This advice, and our commitment to the health and safety of our entire community, continues to guide our decision making process.

Our Planning Process

The planning process for the spring semester continues to be dynamic, with involvement from faculty, staff, and students from departments and divisions across campus. The COVID-19 Planning Coordinating Committee (C-19 PCC) appreciates the constructive feedback we receive from shared governance groups, student surveys, and from individuals through our designated inbox. You can review a selection of the feedback we have received on our new lessons learned webpage

Our guiding principles for planning continue to emphasize health and safety, the quality of the academic experience, and steady attention to our UMBC value of inclusive excellence. We know that students, especially, have struggled to feel connected to our campus community during this time of physical distancing. We continue to focus on student success, access, and support: Student peer ambassadors are now available to help both undergraduate and graduate students successfully navigate remote learning and identify campus services as needed.

Spring 2021 Overview

We anticipate that the spring 2021 semester will be conducted very similarly to the fall semester, including reduced density on campus for students, faculty, and staff. Important details include:

  • The academic calendar is unchanged, including spring break. The first day of classes will be January 26.


  • Most instruction will continue remotely, though we will continue to offer face-to-face and hybrid courses on campus. You can view our criteria for these courses here. Students will continue to have the option to take classes in a fully remote format.  

  • Faculty are currently determining which courses are most essential to offer face-to-face this spring and to complete risk assessment/safety planning for those courses. A complete Schedule of Classes will be available on October 26

  • If conditions warrant, we are planning to  modestly increase the number of in-person and hybrid courses and  make available additional space for residential students. 

  • Residence halls are expected to follow the same strategy employed during the fall semester, with no more than one student per room, and two sharing a bathroom. Students have already received the spring housing application, which is due November 15

  • Most faculty and staff will continue to work remotely. A limited number of faculty and staff who are approved to work on campus will continue to do so, with review by campus leaders. 

  • Testing, training, symptom monitoring, and mask wearing will continue for students, faculty, and staff approved to be on campus. Information on safety precautions is available here.


Questions and Feedback

We are always eager to hear from you with your questions and feedback. We will be scheduling a series of community town halls in November when we will have more information available. Current dates include:

Wednesday, November 4, 3 p.m.

Tuesday, November 10, 5 p.m.

Tuesday November 17, 4 p.m.

We know that we still have much planning to do and promise to be in touch regularly. Additional information will be available on the Retriever Ready website. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to us at

President Freeman Hrabowski

Provost Philip Rous

Vice President Administration and Finance Lynne Schaefer

Tags: covid19
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