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December commencement and winter classes at the University of Maryland will be held entirely online, Provost Mary Ann Rankin announced in a campuswide email Thursday, along with other scheduling updates.
Rankin also announced that the fall semester would proceed as planned and gave guidelines for Thanksgiving break, writing that the university recognizes some students will want to travel home for the holidays.
All students who leave College Park during the break will be required to be tested for COVID-19 upon return and report any positive results. Students are also recommended to isolate themselves as much as possible, including not attending in-person classes for 14 days.
Students who opt to stay in the College Park area can continue their normal campus activities and in-person classes.
“No matter which option students choose, we expect everyone to consistently adhere to healthy behaviors,” Rankin wrote.
The winter commencement ceremony, which is slated for Dec. 20, will also be held virtually, due to ongoing state and county orders prohibiting large gatherings, Rankin wrote. According to the email, plans are underway for a “campus-wide celebration” and individual ceremonies for each school and college.
Although a “significant portion” of classes held during the university’s winter term are typically held virtually, all courses will be delivered online this year, Rankin wrote. The university will not house students in dorms during the winter break except in extenuating circumstances.
Rankin also announced that the spring semester will be conducted in a hybrid fashion, with up to 25 percent of instruction in-person. The university has previously announced that circumstances related to the pandemic are being monitored, and course delivery methods and locations for the spring 2021 semester will be finalized and published by Dec. 4.
Currently, approximately 14 percent of fall 2020 undergraduate course sections are being held at least partially in-person.
“Any additional changes to the schedule will be communicated as decisions are made, weighing public health guidance and recommendations,” Rankin wrote.