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By Jenn Attanasio, Clara Longo de Freitas, Rina Torchinsky and Eric Neugeboren

The University of Maryland released a tentative reopening plan Wednesday that anticipates normal operations in the fall semester. The plan is subject to change based on developing public health guidance from state, county and University System of Maryland officials.

Next semester, the university expects dorms to be open at near full capacity and does not anticipate any physical distancing requirements. Masks “may be” required, according to the school’s website. 

The university has introduced several phases to guide the progress of the reopening of the campus. 

The university is currently in Phase 1, according to the school’s website. Phase 1 conditions include maintaining physical distancing and limited occupancy in buildings. Throughout all phases, vaccinations are highly recommended, according to the site. Quarantine is no longer required for vaccinated people without symptoms.

According to its website, the university anticipates it will move into Phase 2 on July 5 and Phase 3 on Aug. 2. These dates are predictions, and the university anticipates changes in health guidance and government regulations, according to the website.

In the planned Phase 2, physical distancing and masks will be required, but some restrictions are set to be loosened. More university employees, such as researchers, will be able to come back to the campus, but Phase 2 will still have restricted capacity in dorms and dining halls. 

Students and employees who report to the campus during Phase 2 will likely need to be tested for the coronavirus on a monthly basis. 

[UMD to hold in-person commencement, allow guests]

Phase 3 involves near 100 percent density on the campus. Under that phase, the university is currently planning the following measures: 


  • Classrooms and labs will operate at full capacity.
  • Undergraduate student workers, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows will return to the campus.
  • Libraries will be open with increased access for the campus community, with no general public access.

Daily precautions

  • Physical distancing will not be required
  • Masks “may be required.”
  • COVID-19 testing will be required on an as-needed basis — likely once per month. 

Campus life 

  • Dining services will operate at full capacity, with a return to Anytime Dining.
  • Student clubs will operate at full capacity.
  • Gyms and lounges will operate at full capacity. 
  • Dorms will be open at near full capacity. There will continue to be quarantine and isolation housing. 

University employees

  • University-sponsored travel will need the approval of the unit supervisor. 
  • There will be no restrictions on shared office spaces or private offices. 
  • Faculty and staff will either be on the campus or teleworking. Teleworking will need a supervisor’s approval. 
  • Researchers will be on the campus. 
  • There will be no restrictions for affiliates, contractors, technicians and consultants. 

The university also released instruction guidelines for university employees. Fall courses will not be exclusively delivered remotely through “video conference systems” like Zoom unless they were offered fully online before the pandemic, according to the university’s website. Most summer classes will be delivered online.

The university’s reopening plan is aligned with the state of Maryland’s “Roadmap to Recovery” and follows the guidance of state, county and campus health officials, according to a Wednesday campuswide email from Provost Ann Wylie. 

“We consider this to be a living document that may change as conditions evolve, or if our assumptions about what we believe to be achievable by the fall are not realized,” Wylie wrote in the email. 

[UMD opens COVID-19 vaccine appointments to all faculty, students and staff]