Letters to the UMB Community

Return to Campus Update: May 6, 2021

Dear UMB community,
 
We have been through a lot together. I’m so proud of each and every member of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) community for your commitment to keeping yourselves and each other safe over this past year. I know that commitment will continue as many of us return to campus.
 
UMB is fundamentally an in-person, hands-on university. After over a year of vastly increased telework, we have developed a deliberate and phased process to bring folks back together on campus. I have directed each school and administrative unit to increase its on-campus density to approximately 50 percent capacity starting June 1, and approximately 80 percent capacity at the start of the fall semester (Aug. 16 for administrative units). Said another way:
 
  • Starting June 1: Almost everybody needs to be here some of the time.
  • Fall semester: Almost everybody will be back on campus most of the time.
 
The deans and vice presidents have submitted plans for their school/unit that include a level of flexibility unlike what we had previously under older policies. I want UMB to be a university that enables a balance between work and personal needs; yet our sense of belonging — and ability to achieve UMB’s mission — is undoubtedly enhanced by in-person interactions with colleagues, students, the community, and visitors.
 
Although June 1 marks a return for the first time for some people, many of us have been working safely on campus throughout the pandemic. At no point in the past year has UMB been identified as a major source of COVID-19 transmission — that is to say our on-campus health and safety guidelines have worked. We will continue to have high standards for health and safety regulations.
 
In addition, more than 70 percent of our employees and 68 percent of students have been vaccinated. We know that number will continue to rise due to the University System of Maryland mandate that all employees and students be fully vaccinated before the fall. 
 
We also can’t forget that the pandemic has taken a toll on our mental health, and so we need to recognize there will be varied feelings from excitement to anxiety about our return. UMB has a number of resources available for support. I hope that you feel supported by UMB, as each of you is an important part of this vibrant community.
 
On today’s Virtual Face to Face, we’ll discuss our return to campus. I hope that you’ll join at 2 p.m. to learn more and ask questions. Register here.
 
Thank you for your commitment to UMB. I appreciate it and I appreciate you.
 
Sincerely,
 
Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS
President 

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