UMD’s Stamp, Eppley to shut down as coronavirus cases rise in Maryland

The back entrance of Stamp Student Union. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

Starting Wednesday, the University of Maryland’s Stamp Student Union will be closed to the public until at least March 29, its director announced in an email to employees Tuesday.

Additionally, following guidance from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, the university’s Recreation and Wellness department announced all of its facilities would be closed until further notice.

The updates come as coronavirus cases in Maryland spike dramatically: Confirmed cases jumped from 37 on Monday to 57 on Tuesday. Under the university’s original response plan, Eppley Recreation Center was to be open Monday through Sunday, and Stamp was to be open seven days per week on a limited schedule, starting Wednesday.

In her email to Stamp employees, director Marsha Guenzler-Stevens advised many employees — including those who work in marketing, the Chapel, TerpZone and other departments — to prepare to work remotely. All graduate assistants will also be asked to work virtually, she added.

[Read more: Here’s how UMD housing and facilities will be affected in the coming weeks]

She also announced that housekeeping and maintenance staff who want to work in the building will be involved in deep cleaning of the building while it’s closed. Those who do not want to work on site will be “imposed liberal leave,” Guenzler-Stevens wrote, including the option to use sick, annual or personal leave while Stamp is closed.

Guenzler-Stevens’ email comes on the heels of Hogan’s order on Monday that all bars, restaurants and movie theaters be closed and that gatherings of more than 50 people be banned.

“[T]he information we have today is different than it was three days ago,” Guenzler-Stevens wrote. “What remains constant is our deep desire to know that all of you and all those that you love and care for are well.”

Upon her return to work on Tuesday after a week away, Guenzler-Stevens wrote that she read through a Google document of questions that Stamp staff members had compiled. She could sense “our collective unease,” she wrote — the document included lots of questions about the financial implications of the outbreak.

[Read more: Coronavirus updates: The Diamondback’s ongoing coverage]

But while she wrote that she is certain Stamp will be affected by lost revenue from event cancellations and reduced revenue from vendors, she also assured staff members that they would get through the crisis.

“If you will join me in keeping track of expenses and lost revenue related to this pandemic, that will be appreciated,” she wrote. “All of us working together will find our way.”

Additionally, Guenzler-Stevens told staff members that almost 1,700 students would be remaining in dorms. These students, and others who aren’t living on campus, will need Stamp’s help in finding community, Guenzler-Stevens wrote.

She asked that staff members brainstorm ways to create a virtual “center of campus life” — whether that be sharing ideas for meditation, service projects to work on from home or holding online tournaments or discussion groups.

“We are in this together and I can’t think of a better group of people to respond to this crisis with than all of you,” Guenzler-Stevens wrote.

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