As COVID-19 positivity rates continue to rise across the nation and in Maryland, we are writing to update you on campus health and safety plans. Thanks to your collective efforts, the UMBC campus remains a comparatively safe environment. While our positivity rate remains low, we are managing a recent increase in positive cases and suspected exposures. We also know that we are not immune to the wider infection trends. We appreciate the dedicated work of the staff supporting the affected students and colleagues. We wish a speedy recovery for those who are COVID-19-positive, and good health for those who are being monitored in quarantine.
We want to assure you that the COVID-19 Planning Coordinating Committee is closely monitoring the dynamic public health conditions both on and off campus, as well as guidance provided by the Governor, the Baltimore County Health Department, and the University System of Maryland. At this time, we ask for your cooperation and increased vigilance as we implement several immediate measures necessary to protect campus health and academic continuity, and also carefully consider any further actions we may take if the situation worsens.
For students currently on campus
We strongly urge resident students to take a COVID-19 test prior to the Thanksgiving break. Resident students have received information about free on-campus COVID-19 testing scheduled for November 16﹘18. Please register now for available slots. For commuting students, free testing resources are available here. Students who will return to campus after the holiday, including those in Walker Avenue apartments, are required to be tested and have received information on how to do so.
If your classes are currently fully remote and you do not have symptoms, we want to make it possible for you to return home ahead of the Thanksgiving break. Residential Life will be sharing updated information on early check-out processes.
In order to reduce risk, the dine-in option at True Grits will end effective tomorrow, November 12. We are also reconsidering planned in-person events, with a goal to either move to a virtual platform or defer to a later and safer time. Athletics will discontinue practices for out-of-season sports effective November 13.
For faculty and staff approved to be on campus
Both the Governor and public health officials have recommended telework as a way to reduce community spread. We are already in line with this mandate, with most faculty and staff working remotely. For our employees who have been approved to be on campus, we remind you to continue with health and safety measures, including mask wearing, social distancing, and symptom tracking. If you have concerns about your work arrangement, please reach out to your supervisor.
For faculty who are teaching in-person classes, please consider that some students who have been attending in-person classes may be interested in participating remotely for the last few classes before the Thanksgiving break. Any flexibility you can provide to support our students during this time is greatly appreciated.
Holiday safety reminders
We know that many of you face difficult decisions about whether to gather with family during the upcoming holiday. Please review the Governor’s new actions related to gatherings and travel. We strongly advise against out-of-state travel and large gatherings where physical distancing is not possible.
Please remember that it may take up to two weeks to develop symptoms and that you are capable of transmitting the virus to others even if you are asymptomatic. This period before and during the Thanksgiving break is a critical time to be vigilant in your mask use and your efforts to restrict your contact with others.
Finally, we want to make you aware of Maryland’s new COVID alert system. You may have received a notification today on how to join this important new resource available for contact tracing. You can learn more here.
Thank you for all that you have done so far to keep our campus and community safe and healthy. We deeply appreciate your continued vigilance and the care and concern you have shown each other. We know that this is a stressful time, and we will do our best to communicate regularly as the situation evolves. You can reach us with questions or concerns at email@example.com.
Provost Philip Rous
Vice President for Administration and Finance Lynne Schaefer
COVID-19 Planning Coordinating Committee Co-Chairs