June 23, 2020
Moving Towards a Phased Return to Campus
Since I announced the initial framework of a Return to Campus Plan for the fall semester on June 1, implementation workgroups have continued to develop protocols, procedures and timelines for the process of phasing in the return of faculty and staff and the start of classes on Aug. 31.
The return plan outlines four phases of operation. We currently continue to operate in Phase Zero, with fully remote teaching and telework and only essential employees on campus. Before we begin to bring any more employees back to the campus, we are working to ensure that appropriate safety measure are in place. Preparations are nearly complete to enable a move to Phase One on June 29 which will allow limited numbers of faculty researchers and senior administrators to return with strict observance of physical distancing, required use of masks and required symptom monitoring according to the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This initial group will enable testing and refinement of planned protocols. Incrementally, more staff in core units with roles critical for preparations to welcome students and provide key operational services, will be notified to return during this phase.
By early August, we expect to move to Phase Two with staffing in place for full operation of all university programs and services with a mixture of on-campus and remote operations. The Faculty & Staff Return Guidance outlines staffing protocols that enable teleworking in units where it is feasible, including remote teaching, alternating in-person and remote work schedules, and physical distancing in shared spaces. We will continue to make allowances for staff who are at highest risk for contracting COVID-19 and others with special circumstances or concerns.
As we proceed with this transition back to campus, we must all share the responsibility to take every precaution to protect our community from the spread of COVID-19. Daily monitoring of our individual health condition and encouraging each other to be vigilant with safety guidelines will be critical to success.
We continue to work with University System of Maryland health experts in coordination with state officials to access the latest health information as we continue the planning process. It is important to note that plans are based on what is known today. We must be prepared for plans to change as conditions may evolve.
Your input into the process is also very important. I ask that you offer your thoughts and suggestions to the Return to Campus project coordinators through our feedback email at email@example.com. Working together, the creativity and resilience of our Bulldog spirit will be evident in the rich academic and co-curricular experiences we will deliver for our students this fall.