Letters to the UMB Community

University Recovery Update

June 15, 2020

Dear UMB Community:

As I announced last month, the Recovery Task Force is leading the University of Maryland, Baltimore's (UMB) recovery efforts through its 12 focus area groups. I want to share our latest recovery planning updates in these areas:

Didactic Learning

We are planning to deliver lectures across all schools and programs virtually for the fall semester. Interactive learning may be via remote instruction or, in some cases, where there has been prior approval and review of COVID-19 safety protocols, in-person. The types of in-person interactive classes vary by school but may include non-lecture classes associated with experiential learning; simulations; practice classes; seminars or discussion sections with sensitive topics that may be difficult to hold online; Socratic classes in the law school; and select others. Please stay tuned to the respective deans for specific details about the fall didactic learning approach in their schools. For classes requiring in-person interactions, thorough protocols will be established that include physical distancing to assure the safety of faculty and students.

Summer Experiential/Clinical Programs

Some experiential/clinical programs will begin this summer in an effort to preserve graduation timelines, meet accreditation requirements, and restore services to clients and communities. Those programs approved to resume will be closely screened before starting in order to protect students, staff, faculty, and the greater community with whom they may interact. UMB developed its policy in consultation with the University of Maryland Medical System, which recently issued its policy on student clinical rotations. The deans will share program approvals when they become available.

Housing

On-campus housing continues to be available for all UMB students who think that this will be the best option for them. Students who choose on-campus housing will be required to complete online COVID-19 training provided by UMB and a COVID-19 roommate/living agreement, and there will be additional communications about safely living on campus. Existing housing license holders may cancel their license due to academic experiences being conducted completely virtually with verification from the school directly to UMB Housing. For additional concerns or considerations, please contact UMB Housing. Cancellation requests will need to be submitted no later than June 26, 2020 - please refer to the communication sent by UMB Housing on Friday, June 12. UMB Housing may be able to accommodate flexible license terms based on your academic obligations. Because of the changing nature of the pandemic, we caution students who are securing off-campus housing to prioritize living arrangements that promote health and safety and to inquire about flexible lease options and cancellation policies

International Activities

International travel has changed dramatically because of COVID-19 and is expected to continue to be very difficult for months. Therefore, the following guidelines apply:

  • Only essential international work travel should occur prior to an effective treatment, widely available vaccine, or a significant change in our understanding of COVID-19.
  • Therefore, under very limited circumstances, faculty, students, and staff may be permitted to travel internationally for work with permission from the appropriate vice president or dean.
  • Student travel from the United States to international sites for credit-bearing courses, clinical experiences, fellowships, and externships, as well as for grant projects and service projects, is suspended through Jan. 25, 2021.
  • For international research, the guidance from March 18, 2020 applies. For international research, directives from local ethics committees or ministries of health may supersede this guidance. International research should follow local, in-country directives, but investigators must submit modification to the UMB Institutional Review Board (IRB) for approval before continuing research. The Research Advisory Committee, UMB Office of Accountability and Compliance, and UMB IRB will clarify parameters around international research and service delivery.
  • International students admitted to UMB degree programs for fall 2020 who are outside the U.S. might not be able to arrive in the U.S. due to current visa and immigration restrictions. As such, school admissions offices should work one-on-one with admitted international students to help them decide whether to enroll in courses online or defer their admission. Faculty are encouraged to use virtual instructional strategies as much as possible to account for students in multiple time zones and with differing access to internet.

Lab Research

In terms of preclinical laboratory-based research, on Monday, June 8, we successfully moved into Phase 1, the Limited Presence Phase. Adhering to strict requirements for occupancy, in order to conduct research under Phase 1, all of the necessary steps outlined in the June 3, 2020 Research Update must be completed. We look forward to moving toward the next phase as circumstances permit. Policies for restarting clinical and community research are under consideration as well.

Telework

For the vast majority of UMB, those who are able to telework will continue episodic telework through the summer. Please confirm with your supervisor regarding your work requirements.

Virtual SummerU Camp

I've approved a free Virtual SummerU camp for children from Southwest Baltimore partnership schools and UMB students, faculty, and staff. Campers will pick up a box of supplies from URecFit and engage in online and offline activities. I'm grateful that we can continue to serve the Baltimore youth community by providing enrichment and growth opportunities over the summer.

Please do continue to share suggestions you may have for UMB's Recovery Task Force by submitting to the COVID-19 Recovery Suggestion Box.

I know this is a time of high anxiety, with much uncertainty and unrest throughout the country. I want to make sure that you are taking care of yourself, taking time off, and taking advantage of available resources for support, including through the Employee Assistance Program. I will share the next recovery update at the end of June. In the meantime, stay healthy and safe, and please stay home as much as possible

Sincerely,

Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS 

Interim President

 


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