U.Md. cancels in-person instruction for at least 1 week, orders on-campus students to sequester in place

A Sept. 13, 2017 file photo of College Park. Signs says "Home of the University of Maryland". (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

University of Maryland, College Park has canceled in-person classes for at least one week and has ordered students living on campus to sequester in place after a surge in coronavirus cases.

“Effective today, the University of Maryland is implementing urgent interventions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on our campus,” said university President Darryll J Pines in a letter to the school community on Saturday.

All students living in residence halls and on-campus fraternity and sorority houses must “sequester-in-place,” effective at noon on Saturday.

All students living off-campus in the greater College Park area are strongly encouraged to stay home as much as possible and to limit their activities.

All in-person instruction for undergraduate and graduate courses will transition to online instruction beginning on Monday.

Approved laboratory research activities — already operating at 50% capacity and with strict masking and distancing precautions — may continue as scheduled, Pines said.

These measures will be in effect for at least one week, through Feb. 27, according to the letter.

These measures follow a rise in COVID-19 cases at the university.

“… We have experienced a further increase in such cases,” Pines wrote. “Following this increase, these actions were recommended by university health officials and the Campus Infectious Disease Management Executive Committee.”

Under the new sequester-in-place order, all students living in residence halls are instructed to remain in their residence halls and in their rooms as much as possible.

The requirement for all campus citizens to test twice-monthly remains in effect, the Stamp Student Union will remain open only for COVID-19 testing and grab-and-go food, RecWell facilities will be closed and students may go outside to get fresh air only in the area immediately surrounding their residence hall and to pick up food from dining halls, Pines wrote.

Only those student employees working in Resident Life, Residential Facilities, Dining Services and Testing in Stamp are permitted to report to work, Pines said.

Wicomico Hall has been opened to add isolation capacity for positive cases and additional space will open as needed, the statement said.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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