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Thanksgiving Recess, Winter Commencement and Winter Term

October 15, 2020

Dear campus community,

I am writing to you today to share some updates regarding the academic calendar for the fall semester and winter term. But before I do so, I want to thank our faculty, staff and students for their work to make this unprecedented semester possible. Due to the efforts of many, we are delivering a high-quality academic, co-curricular and research experience in a hybrid environment. On behalf of the entire University of Maryland Administration, I want to acknowledge the good work and achievements of each and every one of you.

Thanksgiving Recess

The academic calendar for the fall semester will proceed as scheduled, including Thanksgiving recess on November 25-29. We recognize that some students will want to travel home for Thanksgiving. With that in mind, I want to lay out the following options for students regarding plans for the break and the remainder of the fall semester:
  • Students who decide to leave College Park for Thanksgiving recess may remain at a permanent off-campus residence for the remainder of the fall semester, providing their classes can all be completed entirely online.
  • Students may elect not to travel over Thanksgiving and instead remain in campus residence halls or their off-campus housing during the break. If this option is chosen, students may then continue with normal campus activities and in-person classes through the end of the fall semester.
  • Alternatively students may depart College Park for Thanksgiving recess and return for the remaining three weeks of the fall semester. However, all students who choose this option, whether they live in on-campus residence halls or off-campus accommodations in the Greater College Park area will be required, upon return, to:
    • Be tested for COVID-19 during the week of November 30—either during an on-campus testing event or at an off-campus facility—and report any positive result through the HEAL Line; and,
    • Sequester as much as possible upon return, limiting activities and interactions and not attending in-person classes for 14 days (until December 12).
Registration information for the week of November 30 testing, and additional guidance for students will be shared within the next few weeks. Information specific to residential students will be sent out soon. No matter which option students choose, we expect everyone to consistently adhere to healthy behaviors. We urge you to limit contact with others as much as possible and maintain the commitment to practicing our 4 Maryland guidelines on campus and while you are away.

Homecoming 2020

As announced earlier this week by Maryland Athletics, the Homecoming football game will be held on Friday night, October 30. Because there are no fans and no tailgating, the impact on the campus will be minimal. A cross-campus group has developed a series of Homecoming Week activities. You can see the complete schedule at

Winter Commencement

Due to the ongoing state and county executive orders prohibiting large gatherings, this year's winter commencement on Sunday, December 20 will be a virtual event. Plans are underway to deliver a campus-wide celebration and individual school/college ceremonies, and details will be shared shortly on

Winter Term

A significant portion of our winter course catalogue is typically online, and the upcoming winter term (January 4-22, 2021) will be delivered entirely online. We will not be housing students in our residence halls during winter term unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Spring Semester

The catalogue of classes for the spring 2021 semester was posted a few weeks ago. Although details for the complete academic calendar have not yet been finalized, the spring semester will be conducted in a hybrid environment, with up to 25 percent of instruction delivered in-person. Any additional changes to the schedule will be communicated as decisions are made, weighing public health guidance and recommendations.
Again, thank you all for your hard work, resilience and patience as we navigate this unprecedented academic year together.
Mary Ann Rankin
Senior Vice President and Provost
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