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Important COVID-19 Actions: Effective Immediately

December 16, 2021

Dear Campus Community,

As our Chief Medical Officer Dr. Spyridon Marinopoulos reported yesterday, our campus community – like many communities across the country – is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Earlier today, our COVID-19 dashboard was updated to show 98 positive cases from university testing plus an additional 12 self-reported cases (these results are from tests taken since Monday) and we expect to see another high number of cases from today’s testing. These are the highest case counts we’ve seen this fall semester. Given these numbers and the potential further spread of the virus, we are taking the following actions, effective immediately:

  • With a heavy heart, we are canceling all winter commencement activities, including the main ceremony scheduled for December 20 and all college, school and department ceremonies scheduled for December 21 and 22. This decision was not made lightly. We know how important this time is for our winter graduates and their families, but our first responsibility must continue to be the health and well-being of our community. All winter graduates will be invited to the spring ceremony in May.
  • All indoor social gatherings where mask-wearing cannot be strictly enforced should be canceled through December 22.
  • All dining halls and the Stamp Student Union food court will transition to grab-and-go options only. This went into effect earlier today. Stamp and RecWell facilities will maintain their Finals Hours of Operation schedule through Dec 21; however, basketball, volleyball and racquetball activities will be suspended immediately. Stamp and all RecWell facilities will be closed December 22-January 2, with a limited reopening tentatively scheduled for January 3.
  • Students that live in Residence Halls will be required to depart campus 24 hours after their final on-campus exam.

Final examinations will continue as scheduled, but all students and faculty must wear KN95 masks for all in-person finals. You may obtain a KN95 mask from the Stamp Student Union Information Desk. The data we track show that the risk of transmission in classroom settings is extremely low, which will allow our students to complete the academic semester without further disruption or postponement. However, anyone who is experiencing symptoms should not attend any in-person examinations and should work with their instructor to make alternative arrangements.

I am acutely aware of the impact this virus continues to have on every member of our campus community. Some members of our community are dealing with the virus themselves, or with loved ones who may be sick. We are all grappling with the strain and anxiety of this surge. None of this is easy.

Our decisions will continue to be informed by diligent tracking of cases, positivity rates and other trends, and guided by health professionals, including Dr. Marinopoulos. Let us all look forward to the start of a new year – and a fresh beginning.




Darryll J. Pines

Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland



The University of Maryland, College Park is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,700 students, 14,000 faculty and staff, and nearly 400,000 alumni all dedicated to the pursuit of Fearless Ideas. Located just outside Washington, D.C., we discover and share new knowledge every day through our renowned research enterprise and programs in academics, the arts and athletics. And we are committed to social entrepreneurship as the nation’s first “Do Good” campus.


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Spanning 12 schools and colleges, Maryland offers more than 300 degree-granting programs, many of them ranked among the best in the country. Our faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners, 58 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. And our students, who include the highest achievers in the state and nation, enjoy experiences unique to our location just outside the nation’s capital, including internships, research, and leadership and service opportunities.

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The University of Maryland is one of the world’s premier research institutions. With our strategic location and scores of partnerships with government and businesses, UMD conducts groundbreaking research on some of the biggest challenges facing our global community, including cybersecurity and terrorism, bioengineering, public health equity, food safety and climate change. We strive to discover new knowledge and put it to work through innovation and entrepreneurship, advancing economic development and transforming lives. 

The newly launched Innovation Gateway will guide you to the resources, programs, partners, and spaces you need to activate and scale your fearless ideas into innovations that launch new ventures, catalyze growth, and advance economic development.


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The Terp experience extends beyond classrooms, labs and studios. It encompasses residence halls and dining halls, clubs and sports, fraternities and sororities, campus events and performances, and countless off-campus destinations. Maryland touts 800-plus student organizations, dozens of prestigious living and learning communities, and countless other ways to get involved. Students here can create a unique identity and grow as individuals, even as they’re part of a close-knit and diverse community. 

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