Letters to the UMB Community

University Recovery Update - June 30

June 30, 2020

Dear UMB Community,

Since my last update, the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Recovery Task Force has continued its work through the 12 focus area groups. I am writing today to share additional recovery planning updates on the following areas:   

University Health

The University Health Focus Group’s plans center on creating a low-risk COVID-19 transmission environment for UMB. Some of the existing and ongoing efforts include the COVID-19 hotline, testing sites, signage with reminders about the need for masks and physical distancing, training, exposure investigation, research guidance, and the implementation of the SAFE on Campus daily symptom screening for the research community. Symptom Assessment For Employees (SAFE) on Campus is a UMB employee COVID-19 tracking system in REDCap, a secure web application designed to support online or offline data capture for research studies and operations. The daily virtual screening tool is designed for public health purposes and has been used since March to track COVID-19 exposures and illnesses on campus. Users receive a daily reminder via email to do a self-assessment and to log symptoms on days they will be on campus. If symptoms develop and are reported, the program alerts supervisors (without sharing personal health information) and Occupational Health, and provides the user with next steps to take. We have had successful implementation with over 1,300 enrollees, and we will soon expand SAFE on Campus.

School-Specific Fall Education Plans

I have approved general frameworks for the fall 2020 semester proposed by each of the deans. Each dean will announce their school-specific plans soon. A summary of those plans will be provided on the COVID-19 Recovery website as soon as they are available.

Travel

I know that, for many, summer means travel. The need to remain vigilant in our fight against COVID-19 and take precautions to stay safe is as important as ever, especially as many states are continuing to experience high rates of transmission. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers considerations for travelers in the United States and continues to recommend avoiding nonessential international travel. If you choose to engage in personal travel, please refer to the CDC considerations and, upon return, do not come to work/campus if you are experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms and notify the appropriate teams if you believe you have come in contact with an individual with COVID-19. UMB employees and students: Call the COVID-19 Hotline Medical Team at 800-701-9863. University of Maryland Medical System employees: Call your local Employee Health or Infection Prevention teams.

Community Updates

The Community Focus Group is tasked with describing which UMB actions and initiatives will have the highest positive impact as we join with the community to build a stronger, more successful future for West Baltimore. The COVID-19 Recovery-specific recommendations reflect programs and solutions to longstanding community issues amplified by the pandemic. One such example facing our community is the lack of widespread access to technology, which hampers residents’ ability to adjust to life changes required for sustained social distancing as families struggle to make the transition to virtual education and employment as well as to obtain important health information about COVID-19 and access general health information. The focus group is addressing this digital divide by taking the lead in convening, championing, and investing in delivering comprehensive, high-quality internet service to households, schools, businesses, and nonprofits in our West Baltimore target area. We are bringing city, state, and corporate partners together to address and meet the technical and financial requirements.

Telework

UMB continues to be in a state of mandatory telework that will continue at least through the summer and beyond that for many functions. Limiting the number of people who need to be on campus helps us protect one another. For the safety of all, during mandatory telework, UMB employees who are able to telework, as determined by their supervisor, are required to do so. I will let you know in advance about any telework-related policy changes before they take effect, as I know how important this issue is to you.

I thank the many members of the Recovery Task Force for their continued work on behalf of our students, faculty, and staff. I hope that you stay healthy and safe, and that you are able to stay home as much as possible.

Sincerely,

Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS

Interim President


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