The University of Maryland released guidance Wednesday concerning COVID-19 vaccinations and mask mandates, which outline expectations for students, staff and faculty as the fall semester approaches.
The guidance, which was issued through a campuswide email from university President Darryll Pines and Spyridon Marinopoulos, the director of the University Health Center, outlines what’s expected from those who are and aren’t vaccinated. While the University System of Maryland’s vaccine mandate is still in effect for those returning to campus, some community members may be granted an exemption due to medical or religious reasons.
The guidance states that the university’s COVID-19 positivity rate is “essentially” zero percent and that the full vaccination rate is 74 percent, according to the email. The university’s COVID-19 dashboard reports that during the week of July 4, the self-reported full vaccination rate was 66.8 percent.
As the university prepares for the fall semester, the email adds that the university will continue to “monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 within our community, including all variants, and follow guidance from the CDC, and state and local health officials.” The university will implement stricter measures or consequences for non-compliance if deemed necessary, according to the guidance.
Fully vaccinated community members are not required to wear masks or get tested regularly. They’re also not required to quarantine in the case that they come in contact with someone who tested positive, unless they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, according to the email. The university also encourages community members to confirm their vaccination status through its online KeepTerpsSafe portal.
If unvaccinated, community members must adhere to certain requirements, including wearing a mask indoors at all times and outdoors in crowded spaces, according to the guidance. Unvaccinated community members must comply with on-campus testing twice a week and sign a memorandum acknowledging the health risks associated with being unvaccinated.
The university strongly recommends that community members get vaccinated as soon as possible, according to the email.
Students, both undergraduate and graduate, who are unvaccinated and do not have an exemption will not be allowed to live in residence halls and on-campus chapter houses or have access to on-campus facilities such as academic buildings. These students may also face the risk of cancellation of their fall and spring course registration, according to the email.
Staff and faculty who do not comply with the university’s health and safety requirements will face “progressive discipline,” which may include termination.
The guidance also addressed those who may have weakened immune systems, stating that those individuals, regardless of vaccination status, may need to take additional precautions to maximize their safety. The guidance added that those community members should also consult with their physician for additional guidance.
“This is a critical moment for our campus. Every faculty member, staff member and student plays a vital role in the health and safety of our University community,” the email reads. “Getting vaccinated remains the best way to ensure that we have a full and rich experience during the forthcoming fall semester.”