Maryland university system creates panel to explore reviving in-person learning

The chancellor of the University System of Maryland said a new committee will research and develop a plan to reopen all campuses this fall, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, Jay Perman said the “Return to Campus Advisory Group” will include university-based leaders that will look at factors, such as academic affairs, public health and health care, as well as student life.

Perman said the first consideration is student and employee safety, which “will not be compromised.”

Last week, Perman was quoted in The Washington Post saying he was “reasonably optimistic” that in-person instruction can resume. In his statement Monday, he said that he has made clear to university leaders that he wanted to start planning as though students will be able to return to campus in the fall — “maybe September or October” — but that it is “not a guarantee.”

“That said, I do want this advisory group to decide on a date — the backstop date of when students might return to campus, whatever it is,” Perman said. “Then, from there, establish the other dates by which certain milestones must be hit to make that possible, including the return of our faculty and staff.”

Just like all colleges and universities across the country, the University System of Maryland had to shift to online learning this spring during the pandemic, and the pressure is on to get things back to normal.

In a New York Times op-ed last weekend, the president of Brown University warned of severe economic consequences “if a university or a small college has to go an entire semester without tuition, room and board, I don’t see how they make it.”

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Ken Duffy

Ken Duffy is a reporter and anchor at WTOP with more than 20 years of experience. He has reported from major events like the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, 2016 Election Night at Trump Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami.

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