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Fall 2020 Semester

Updated August 10, 2020

Full campus guidance and resources can be found on the University's coronavirus information webpage. Below you will find quick links and School-specific frequently asked questions to support a safe and productive fall semester. 

View the University's coronavirus guidance

For Students

Quicklinks to University updates and resources:

School-specific FAQ

When will the fall semester commence and end?

Fall semester classes will begin on August 31, 2020 as scheduled. Per the update from President Pines on August 10, undergraduate in-person instruction will be delayed until September 14. Undergraduate instruction will be delivered online for the first two weeks. All graduate-level instruction and  approved research activities will proceed as planned. The semester will run its full length with classes ending on December 14, 2020.  The final exam period will be as scheduled from December 16 to 22.  Thanksgiving break will be held as scheduled.  We do no t expect to change the time between classes or the standard daily start and stop times for classes.

Am I required to have a COVID-19 test before returning to campus?

Yes, testing is required within 14 days prior to your return to campus. Please refer to the August 10 email from Sacared Bodison, MD, Interim Director of the University Health Center for additional details about meeting this requirement. 

What safety precautions are expected of me if/when on campus?

All members of our community are expected to abide by these safety precautions:

  • Wear a face covering at all times indoors and outdoors when other people are nearby.
  • Stay at least 6 feet from others at all times.
  • Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
  • If you are sick, do not report to work or class.
Will my course be held in person or online?

It depends. Please check the Schedule of Classes for the most up-to-date information about your specific classes.

Can I be expected to participate in synchronous (i.e. live) class sessions outside of the regularly scheduled class time?

No. Faculty are expected to hold any live class sessions during the scheduled class time as indicated in the Testudo Schedule of Classes

Is grading pass/fail or satisfactory/fail for the fall semester?

The University’s regular grading policy is in effect for the fall semester. Please see the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs for grading policies. 

Will common spaces be available to students (e.g. student lounge, computer lab, PhD lab)?

For the safety and well-being of our students and the entire community, common areas such as lounges and labs will not be available for student use until further notice. If a point comes when we can make some or all of these spaces available on a scheduled basis, students will be notified.

Will classrooms in the School’s buildings be available to students to use outside of class time?

Classrooms in our buildings that are not under the scheduling control of campus will be set up for faculty and staff to safely meet with students, and will not be available for student use outside of class time. The University has compiled a list of quiet study spaces that can be found across campus.

Will faculty and staff be on campus?

Faculty who are teaching remotely are not required to be on campus. Students will have access to staff, although in many cases that access will need to be remote in order to comply with safety protocols.  We highly recommend you refer to our website and email the staff member you need to see before heading to the office.

Am I able to meet with my academic advisor during the semester?

Your academic advisor will be available to you during the semester. Please call or email to make an appointment.

Am I able to meet with my career advisor during the semester?

Your career advisor will be available to you during the semester. Please call or email to make an appointment.

Are School student groups allowed to meet in-person?

In-person meetings are allowed, provided you adhere to the University’s safety guidelines. This includes wearing a face covering at all times indoors, and staying at least 6 feet apart from others at all times. Ensuring that physical distancing guidelines are met significantly reduces the number of people that can safely be in our rooms, and as such, our in-person meeting rooms will likely be able to safely accommodate no more than four people. We have a limited number of in-person meeting rooms, and the use of these will be prioritized for meetings between faculty/staff and students. 

Will any co-curricular activities be held in-person?

A limited number of co-curricular activities will be held in-person with social distancing guidelines in place. Program directors of living-learning programs and co-curricular programs should be contacted for details.

Will the School be hosting any events during the semester?

The School and its centers and institutes will continue to host events this semester, with most being held virtually. Please check the events calendar on the website regularly, as events will continue to be added as the semester progresses.

Am I required to notify the university if I test positive for COVID-19?

Yes.  You are required to notify the University Health Center at healthconcerns@umd.edu.


For Faculty

Quicklinks to University updates and resources:

School-specific FAQ

What safety precautions are expected of me if/when on campus?

The University has established protocols for any employee coming to campus on a given day. Before returning to campus for the first time, you must watch a video to understand the safety steps that must be taken. Each day that you will be on campus (regardless if you will be on campus for 5 minutes or 8 hours) you must complete the COVID 19 Employee Screening Checklist that you will receive via email each morning. These protocols will be monitored by supervisors for compliance. The University expects all employees to follow these core guidelines:

  • If you are sick, do not come to campus. If you feel sick while at work, go home.
  • Monitor your daily health and complete the COVID-19 Employee Screening Checklist before coming to campus each day.
  • Wear a face covering at all times indoors and outdoors when other people are nearby.
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart from others at all times.
  • Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Will students be required to wear face coverings inside the classroom?

Yes, they will be required to wear face coverings and observe the 6-foot physical distancing guidelines when inside buildings and classrooms. 

Am I responsible for enforcing safety precautions among students?

We have been told that faculty are not responsible for enforcing safety precautions, although the specific mechanisms of enforcement are still under development.

May I host synchronous class sessions outside of scheduled class time?

No.  All synchronous class sessions are to be held during scheduled class times to avoid creating conflicts for students.

May I use my office/workspace to carry out my teaching and research responsibilities?

You may once the building in which your office/workspace is located is cleaned and cleared for reopening, provided that you comply with required safety precautions.  We will notify you when that has occurred.  In the meantime, you must notify Senior Associate Dean Joyce if you plan to go to your office to briefly collect materials, or for other purposes.

May I meet with students in-person?

Only if you can do so and follow physical distancing protocols.  SPP will make a limited number of spaces available that are large enough for in-person meetings with students. These spaces will be available to be booked on a scheduling system. The University will soon provide departments with guidelines on physical distancing so that we can review and adjust our workspaces, however we expect our largest in-person meeting spaces to accommodate no more than four people.

May I meet with colleagues in-person?

We strongly encourage the continuation of virtual meetings. If you must meet in-person, you may only do so if it is possible to abide by physical distancing protocols.  SPP will make a limited number of spaces available that are large enough for in-person meetings, and priority for use of these spaces will be given to faculty/staff meetings with students. These spaces will be available to be booked on a scheduling system. The University will soon provide departments with guidelines on physical distancing so that we can review and adjust our workspaces, however we expect our largest in-person meeting spaces to accommodate no more than four people. 

How frequently will our workspaces be cleaned?

The office cleaning schedule has not changed.

How often will restrooms in our buildings be cleaned?

Restrooms will be cleaned twice daily, first sometime between 4 am and 8 am, then again between 10 am and noon. 

May I resume travel for university-related business in the Fall semester?

Not at this time.  The university will announce when travel may resume.

Am I required to notify the University if I test positive for COVID-19?

Yes. You are required to notify the University Health Center at healthconcerns@umd.edu. Instructional faculty should notify Associate Dean Nina Harris (if teaching undergraduate classes), Associate Dean Bill Powers (if teaching graduate classes), or both (if teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses).  Non-instructional faculty should notify their supervisor.

How will courses be handled if I become ill or am required to self-quarantine? Will I be expected to continue teaching? 

You will not be expected to continue teaching in person if you become sick. If you are teaching an online course, it will depend on whether you feel you are able to continue.  If you are not able to continue teaching, you will need to notify either Associate Dean Powers (for graduate courses) or Associate Dean Harris (for undergraduate courses) and they will work with you to find a substitute or alternate arrangements.

What is the protocol if a student in my in-person class becomes ill or is asked to self-quarantine? 

That will be treated as an excused absence for the duration of the student’s required absence from the class.  If the student is ill, you should follow the same protocol as when a student is ill in a normal semester.  If the student must self-quarantine and thus miss an in-person class, the absence should be counted as excused.  A self-quarantine though should not create any disruption in student learning or participation for an online course.

How will campus parking restrictions and permits operate for the fall semester?

See the latest guidance from the Department of Transportation for fall parking plans. 
 


For Staff

Quicklinks to University updates and resources:

School-specific FAQ

What safety precautions are expected of me if/when on campus?

The University has established protocols for any employee coming to campus on a given day. Before returning to campus for the first time, you must watch a video to understand the safety steps that must be taken. Each day that you will be on campus (regardless if you will be on campus for 5 minutes or 8 hours), you must complete the COVID 19 Employee Screening Checklist that you will receive via email each morning. These protocols will be monitored by supervisors for compliance. The University expects all employees to follow these core guidelines:

  • If you are sick, do not come to campus. If you feel sick while at work, go home.
  • Monitor your daily health and complete the COVID-19 Employee Screening Checklist before coming to campus each day.
  • Wear a face covering at all times indoors and outdoors when other people are nearby.
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart from others at all times.
  • Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
May I use my office/workspace to carry out my job responsibilities?

You may once the building in which your office/workplace is located is cleaned and cleared for reopening, provided that you comply with required safety precautions.  We will notify you when that has occurred.  In the meantime, you must notify Assistant Dean Kim Schmidt if you plan to go to your office to briefly collect materials, or for other purposes.

May I meet with colleagues in-person?

We strongly encourage the continuation of virtual meetings. If you must meet in-person, you may only do so if it is possible to abide by physical distancing protocols.  SPP will make a limited number of spaces available that are large enough for in-person meetings, and priority for use of these spaces will be given to faculty/staff meetings with students. These spaces will be available to be booked on a scheduling system. The University will soon provide departments with guidelines on physical distancing so that we can review and adjust our workspaces, however we expect our in-person meeting spaces to accommodate no more than two to four people. 

May I meet with students in-person?

Only if you can do so and follow physical distancing protocols.  SPP will make a limited number of spaces available that are large enough for meetings with students. These spaces will be available to be booked on a scheduling system. The University will soon provide departments with guidelines on physical distancing so that we can review and adjust our workspaces, however we expect our in-person meeting spaces to accommodate no more than four people.

How frequently will our workspaces be cleaned?

The office cleaning schedule has not changed.  

How often will restrooms in our buildings be cleaned?

Restrooms will be cleaned twice daily, first sometime between 4 am and 8 am, then again between 10 am and noon. 

May I resume travel for university-related business in the Fall semester?

Not at this time.  The university will announce when travel may resume.

Am I required to notify the University if I test positive for COVID-19?

Yes. You are required to notify the University Health Center at healthconcerns@umd.edu. Staff should also notify their direct supervisor.

How will campus parking restrictions and permits operate for the fall semester?

See the latest guidance from the Department of Transportation for fall parking plans.