All University of Maryland students living in La Plata Hall have been ordered to restrict their activities for 10 days or return home following a rise in coronavirus cases, according to an email sent to residents at about 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Students must make their decision by 7 p.m. Friday, according to the email sent by Valronica Scales, resident life director, and Spyridon Marinopoulos, health center director.
“We are taking these actions to mitigate the spread of the virus and because we care for you, our students, and our community,” the email read.
As part of the enhanced safety precautions, residents are not allowed to attend in-person classes, which are set to begin Monday, or visit University Recreation and Wellness facilities and Stamp Student Union. They must also remain in their rooms as much as possible and avoid gathering in floor lounges, among other requirements.
All residents who choose to remain on-campus are required to be tested for the coronavirus Saturday morning. Students have been assigned a testing time based on their floor.
Students who decide to leave campus Friday evening will not be required to be tested. Residents who have not yet moved into the dorm are advised to not return to campus until 7 p.m. Feb. 15.
The residents will only be permitted to pick up food from the North Campus Dining Hall at designated times. Dining Services will serve a buffet meal to La Plata residents within those times, and the residents will not be permitted to enter the dining hall’s main entrance, according to the email.
On weekdays, residents will have a one hour window to pick up each meal from the dining hall. On weekends, they may pick up meals during two time slots: between 10 a.m. and noon; and 5 and 6:30 p.m.
The university has seen a spike in positive coronavirus cases over the past two days. The university reported 24 positive cases from university-administered testing Thursday and 12 positive cases Friday, according to its COVID-19 dashboard.
The announcement echoes last semester, when all Denton Hall residents were required to return home or self-monitor for 14 days in late September.
Marinopoulos also sent a campuswide email with more updates about the virus later Friday evening. He informed the community about two new coronavirus variants found in Maryland that are more contagious, and advised students to wear a mask at all times, practice physical distancing and avoid gathering or eating together.
This story has been updated.