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The University of Maryland announced new COVID-19 safety measures Thursday, following a “significant and concerning” increase in positive cases on and off campus.
The university has noticed clusters and outbreaks across the campus community, university President Darryll Pines and University Health Center Director Spyridon Marinopoulus wrote in a campuswide email Thursday evening.
Clusters are defined as at least three positive cases in a specific area, while outbreaks are defined as five or more positive cases in a specific area.
The university is implementing six new safety measures, ranging from limiting the size of gatherings to offering additional testing for students living in dorms or fraternity and sorority houses with reported outbreaks or clusters. All indoor and outdoor student gatherings are limited to five people, and mask-wearing and social distancing will be enforced for all gatherings regardless of size or location.
Activities offered at or by Stamp Student Union, University Recreation and Wellness or student organizations are also required to adhere to the five-person limit. Individual exercise reservations, however, are still available at RecWell. Dining halls will continue to only offer grab-and-go service, and students are prohibited from eating in lounges with others.
The university will implement “enhanced health precautions” to limit transmission in dorms or fraternity and sorority houses where cases are growing. Some of those measures include having students quarantine in their rooms, eliminating visits to public facilities and not allowing students to attend in-person classes or work, according to the email.
“We do not take lightly that these additional measures impact everyday lives. We are keenly aware of the toll this virus is taking on our collective and individual mental health,” Pines wrote in the email. “But we cannot let down our guard against this virus.”