The following message was communicated in a campus-wide email on Wednesday, April 14.
We have crossed the one-year threshold of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, our faculty, staff and students have demonstrated flexibility, creativity, dedication and resolve. Though much of our learning and engagement have occurred remotely, we look forward to welcoming all members of our community back safely to campus in the fall. Our plan is to resume our operations at full capacity in the Fall 2021 semester. This document articulates a phased plan for gradually expanding in-person activities on campus to achieve our aim.
It is the presence of faculty, staff and students—and their interactions—on campus that makes the university a successful and dynamic organization and a vibrant learning community. Being together allows faculty, staff and students to get to know and informally interact with one another; it allows researchers to innovate and collaborate; it stimulates creativity through the cross-fertilization of ideas; and it allows students to fully benefit from the residential education experience and all that our campus has to offer.
We recognize that students, staff, faculty, graduate assistants and others have shown tremendous flexibility and resiliency over the past year. Many individuals have been working on campus, and your physical presence has made an important difference in the continued and successful operation of our educational enterprise.
As we look ahead to our shared presence on campus in the fall, we particularly look forward to joining one another through classroom-based and co-curricular learning. The creative efforts of instructors this past year have been both unprecedented and impressive. Instructors are encouraged to continue reimagining their courses in ways that reshape the future of teaching and learning for our university. Educational technologies that enrich learning will continue to augment our teaching and ensure that Maryland students have access to engaging experiences. We encourage the integration of new teaching tools and new teaching practices to support plans for in-person instruction this fall. We welcome greater social interactions for our students outside the classroom.
We also recognize that, prior to the pandemic, there was considerable innovation across the campus in adopting multiple options for course delivery. As we move back to on-campus operations for the fall, changes from traditionally in-person courses to other delivery methods should be limited to cases in which there is a strong pedagogical justification and should have the approval of the department and college.
The chart at the end of the document outlines UMD's phased and gradual plan for expanding in-person activities on campus. This plan is aligned with, and can be changed at any time based on, the state of Maryland's plan, the Roadmap to Recovery, as well as guidance from Prince George's County and campus health authorities. The plan has also been coordinated with state and county health officials, with additional guidance provided by the University System of Maryland. It is based on what we know today about conditions that appear to be achievable many months from now. We consider this to be a living document that may change as conditions evolve, or if our assumptions about what we believe to be achievable by the fall are not realized.
This plan aims at gradually expanding in-person campus activities in a phased approach, keeping our focus on the health and well-being of our entire campus community. Should health conditions change, other aspects of this plan may also change.
Ann G. Wylie
Interim Senior Vice President and Provost