The University of Maryland will begin administering a “limited number” of COVID-19 vaccinations next week to frontline staff and workers who have faced barriers to receiving the vaccine, according to a campuswide email Friday.
This vaccine administration will be part of a pilot program with the Prince George’s County Health Department. Barriers to receiving the vaccine include a lack of access to technology and transportation, and staff members eligible for vaccination will be contacted directly, according to the email.
“We are hopeful that a successful pilot program will lead to the establishment of a larger vaccination site on campus,” the email read. “The promise of the vaccine and our collective approach to keeping our community safe gives us great hope for the eventual resumption of all campus activities.”
The university will also loosen several coronavirus-related restrictions on campus, according to the email, which was signed by university President Darryll Pines, Provost Ann Wylie and Student Affairs Vice President Patty Perillo.
[Marylanders 16 and over can preregister for COVID-19 vaccinations at mass sites]
Effective April 5, the university will resume in-person classes — which have been paused since spring break — increase occupancy of all research spaces to 75 percent and open dining halls for dine-in options with up to 50 percent occupancy, according to the email.
In addition, beginning April 5, in-person activities at Stamp Student Union and at University Recreation and Wellness facilities will be expanded and gathering limits will increase to 20 people inside and 50 people outside, provided that safety guidelines are being followed.
The university’s COVID-19 positivity rate over the past two weeks has been 0.3 percent, and there has been no evidence of the virus spreading in the workplace, according to the email.
[Maryland’s first FEMA-run vaccination site to open in Greenbelt on April 7]
This low positivity rate comes as the state of Maryland has seen an increase in daily coronavirus cases and vaccination rates.
In the email, the university stressed that the loosening of the restrictions makes it even more important for the community to abide by coronavirus safety guidelines.
“These measures should in no way be interpreted as an invitation to forego the 4 Maryland protocols,” the email read. “In fact, quite the opposite. With the privilege of resuming activities comes the responsibility to adhere closely to the 4 Maryland protocols.”