Dear UMBC Community,
As we near the beginning of the fall semester, we are actively preparing to respond as needed to the nationwide COVID-19 surge associated with the Delta variant. Current conditions in Central Maryland, along with safety precautions and a high on-campus vaccination rate, give us confidence that students, faculty, and staff will be able to return to a vibrant on-campus community later this month. We also know that community members have understandable concerns about safety, and we wish to share a variety of updates and reminders about the core safety measures in place on campus.
More than 90 percent of our community members have documented their vaccination. This number continues to increase as incoming students report their vaccinations. We are working closely with students to help them meet this requirement, including students who are partially vaccinated and international students who were unable to receive a vaccination before arriving in the U.S., to implement strict health and safety protocols for the start of the semester.
All partially vaccinated and unvaccinated community members have received notification of the consequences for noncompliance and the health and safety requirements with which they must comply. These include: (1) mask wearing, (2) regular testing, and (3) daily symptom tracking. Faculty and staff who do not fulfill these requirements face sanctions up to and including termination. Students who are out of compliance may have their class schedules canceled.
Emerging data demonstrate that communities with higher vaccination rates are protected from the adverse effects of COVID-19, including severe infections and hospitalizations, even in cases involving the Delta variant. We are confident that our campus has and will continue to maintain the high percentage vaccination rate that our public health experts have determined is needed to minimize the serious effects of COVID-19 in our community.
All community members are currently required to wear a mask indoors in public spaces at UMBC. This includes in classrooms, on transportation, and inside dining facilities when not actively eating. While masks are not required in residential settings, they are strongly encouraged in all common areas and elevators.
In addition to these requirements, we also ask our community to keep masks in mind wherever they are. This includes asking individuals if they would like you to wear a mask, wearing a mask at off-campus activities, and not making assumptions about individuals who wear masks.
Throughout our campus, we strongly encourage community members to maintain at least three feet physical distance from others. Current limits on classroom capacities will remain in place during the fall semester to allow for at least three feet of physical distancing in these spaces. We are making updates to seating in dining locations to help with distancing, and we will also need our community’s help to avoid overcrowding in popular locations such as the University Center and the Commons.
Departments and student groups seeking to reserve space for in-person events will be directed to spaces that allow for physical distancing. Given that the number of indoor spaces that will allow for distancing is extremely limited, we will continue to minimize large in-person events. Events and meetings should be planned in virtual or hybrid formats so all attendees have access despite their physical location or health concerns.
Feel Sick? Stay Home.
Help us all stay healthy and don’t come to campus if you are not feeling well. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or have had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 and have been on campus, you should complete a case report form so that we can provide you support and resources.
We know that COVID-19 will be a part of our UMBC and our broader communities for some time. As we return home to our physical campus, we ask that all Retrievers consider how our UMBC values of community, respect, and inclusivity can help us support campus safety and one another.
Provost Philip Rous
Vice President for Administration and Finance Lynne Schaefer
COVID-19 Planning Coordinating Committee Co-Chairs