The University of Maryland plans to resume in-person classes this fall as long as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout goes smoothly in the coming months.
In a letter to the campus community, President Darryll Pines said multiple effective vaccines should enable the university to have in-person classes for the fall 2021 semester and “a return to more normal operations.”
Pines said though he can’t say for sure whether all students will be vaccinated in the coming months, he expects the majority of the campus population will be eligible before the semester begins.
The university hasn’t received any vaccine supply from the state, Pines said. He’s encouraging students to utilize non-university opportunities to be vaccinated.
“I recognize that returning to campus after a long time away will be an adjustment for many,” Pines said. “Although technology has made it possible to connect with each other, teach, learn and communicate from a distance, the interactions of faculty, staff, and students on campus contribute to a vibrant community.”
The school’s plans have varied throughout the pandemic. In November, it said it intended to go almost entirely online after Thanksgiving. And in December, it detailed its plan for hybrid learning this spring.
About 25% of courses are currently being held in person, with the rest online.
While Pines said he’s planning to have in-person classes in the fall, he also said some classes will “make use of multiple modes of delivery.”
“Being together brings with it much more than teaching a class or staffing an office,” he wrote. “It allows faculty, staff, and students to interact more frequently and get to know one another; researchers to innovate and collaborate; and students to benefit from all that our campus has to offer.”
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