Statement by University System of Maryland Chancellor Jay A. Perman: Guidance on USM Spring Break, Distance Learning, and Related COVID-19 Preparations

Baltimore, Md. (March 10, 2020)--The health of our students, faculty, and staff is my paramount concern as the University System of Maryland (USM) develops protocols in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Our recommendations align with those of our public health experts, and we’re prepared to adapt our protocols quickly as circumstances change.

Given the residential nature of the universities within the System, USM must apply an abundance of caution to ensure that students and employees are protected and safe. Therefore, I strongly urge every university to prepare for students to remain off campus—for at least two weeks—following the end of spring break. (USM spring break begins Saturday, March 14, and ends Sunday, March 22.) During those two weeks or longer, all USM universities should be prepared to deliver instruction remotely.

Given this guidance, I understand that USM presidents may need to cancel classes one or more days this week so that students, faculty, and staff can plan for this change in schedule post-spring break. Preparation for campus departures and online instruction will vary among universities, and each USM president therefore has discretion to ensure that faculty and staff have adequate time to set these plans in motion. While this means that some classes may be canceled this week, all campuses will remain open before, during, and after spring break.

I’m consulting with the USM presidents and our public health experts about additional considerations that will affect university students and employees, as well as campus operations—such as services offered to students who must remain on campus during and after spring break; the return of students studying abroad in countries without a CDC-issued health notice; leave policies for faculty and staff; and additional recommendations on the hosting of large campus gatherings, such as graduation ceremonies and athletic events. This guidance will be shared in the coming days.

All of this information resides on the USM website at I’m in touch continually with state leaders, USM presidents, and our team of public health and emergency management experts, and I’ll share updated information and guidance as they become available.

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Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719