University of Maryland dining halls shifted to carry-out service beginning Thursday at dinner following a recent spike in COVID-19 cases on campus.

This university identified 98 new COVID-19 cases from its on-campus testing Wednesday, skyrocketing from just nine cases reported the day before, according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Dining Services, which had been open for indoor dining, is offering three-compartment compostable trays, said Dining Services spokesperson Bart Hipple. Students can fill their trays and get a piece of fruit and a drink, he said.

COVID-19 case counts at this university have largely stayed below 10 per day since mid-September. The second highest daily report of positive cases this semester was Sept. 13, when 29 positive cases were reported from on-campus testing.

[Some UMD students want to see return of takeout option at dining halls this year]

Some in the university community are calling the university to move finals online, noting the surge in cases. In just three hours, more than 1,500 people signed a petition Thursday.

Other universities across the nation, including Cornell University and George Washington University, are experiencing spikes in COVID-19 cases, prompting shutdowns of in-person activities, even amid high vaccination rates.

In a campuswide email Wednesday, university health center director Spyridon Marinopoulos highlighted the rise in COVID-19 cases on campus as part of a nationwide trend. He reminded students to get tested if they are experiencing symptoms, wear KN95 masks and get the COVID-19 booster shot, which offers increased protection against the delta and omicron variants.

“While our overall case counts remain relatively low for a community our size, this increase is a reminder to all of us that we must remain vigilant in our efforts to limit the spread of the virus on our campus,” Marinopoulos wrote.