U.Md. to shift undergrad classes online amid COVID-19 spike

The University of Maryland is moving all undergraduate classes online starting Monday after state and local officials announced more COVID-19 restrictions this week. The switch to all-virtual will remain for the rest of the semester.

Graduate courses will stay the same, and the library will be in a “modified Phase Two.”

If students are able to, they should make plans to go back to their respective states of residence, university President Darryll J. Pines said in a statement Friday. But before leaving, students should take a COVID-19 test so they can prevent spreading the virus to their loved ones, he said.

For students who need to stay on campus, they should try to restrict their activities. They should also make an appointment to take a COVID-19 test after Thanksgiving, from Dec. 1 to Dec. 4. On-campus facilities, such as the Stamp Student Union and dining services, will be limited.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday ordered reduced capacity at bars and restaurants statewide, and strongly recommended limiting in-person gatherings to 25 people.

Then, on Thursday, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks tightened restrictions further, capping indoor social and family gatherings at one person per 200 square feet, or 10 people maximum. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people.

Capacity limits at bars and restaurants will be further reduced to 25% indoors and 50% for outdoor dining. The number of people allowed in gyms and fitness centers is also being cut in half — from 50% to 25%, limited to one person per 200 square feet.

Alsobrooks also expanded the county’s mask mandate, saying all residents need to wear facial coverings whenever they leave their residences unless they are vigorously exercising. Previously, the order required facial coverings only indoors.

Hogan on Thursday said case numbers were spiking statewide, with Maryland’s overall positivity rate at 5.65%, and the seven-day average at over 1,400 cases and rising.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Frederick Co. health board sets restrictions

The Frederick County Board of Health set new COVID-19 regulations on Thursday, which went into effect 5 p.m. Friday. (Anne Arundel County’s tightened restrictions also went into effect Friday.)

Face coverings are now required for people age 5 and older for indoor public spaces and outdoor spaces where social distancing isn’t consistent.

Indoor and outdoor venues for events are limited to 25 people or 25% of the venue capacity, whichever is less. This includes bars, nightclubs, breweries, wine tasting rooms, and social and and private gatherings. Religious facilities are capped at 50%.

But indoor operations for restaurants, personal services and retail establishments fall in line with Hogan’s order set Wednesday.

Fitness centers are limited to 25% capacity, and face masks are required.

Enforcement now includes fines, starting at $250.

Montgomery Co. food staff tests positive

A Montgomery County Public Schools food staff member who was working at the South Lake Elementary School meal distribution site, in Gaithersburg, has tested positive for COVID-19.

The employee last worked at the site on Wednesday, the school system said in a release Friday. They had used masks and gloves while working.

Other employees who worked with that staff member were asked to self-quarantine for 14 days since their last contact “out of an abundance of caution.”

If anyone visited that site before or on Wednesday, they should self-monitor for symptoms, the school system said, but the overall risk level to students and families is low.

WTOP’s Jack Moore and Zeke Hartner contributed to this report. 

Teta Alim

Teta Alim is a Digital Editor at WTOP. Teta's interest in journalism started in music and moved to digital media.

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