News & Politics

University of Maryland Delays Start of In-Person Classes

President Darryll Pines says the administration needs time to establish campus-wide Covid testing

Photograph Courtesy of CarmichaelLibrary/Flickr.
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The University of Maryland has delayed by two weeks the start of in-person undergraduate classes for the fall semester on account of Covid-19 concerns.

University President Darryll J. Pines said in a letter to the university community Monday that the delay will provide the administration time to set up a campus-wide Covid testing system. “Analysis of test results, in close cooperation with state and county health officials, will allow us to assess county and campus positivity rates, availability and need for isolation and quarantine spaces, and other key health factors as campus activity resumes,” Pines said. “We will not hesitate to pivot to more stringent measures if dictated by these initial assessments, and health conditions within our state, county or campus.”

The University has also mandated that students and faculty wear masks anytime they are in the presence of others, whether that’s indoors or outside. Failing to comply with this and other safety protocols, Pines said, could result in penalties ranging from being banned from campus events to expulsion. “We are serious about enforcing our Student Code of Conduct,” he said, “because one individual’s behavior can mean the difference between life and death.”

In addition, Pines issued a warning to students about holding house parties, noting that an executive order issued by Governor Hogan gives Prince George’s County cops the authority to charge anyone throwing or attending a large gathering at a personal residence with a misdemeanor crime punishable by a fine of as much as $5,000 and/or up to one year in jail. “For most houses in the College Park area,” he said. “This means no parties or gatherings with more than 10-20 students.”

Read the full letter here.

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Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.