Statement by USM Chancellor Jay A. Perman on Essential USM Employees

Baltimore, Md. (March 23, 2020) -- I imagine we all eagerly tuned in to the Governor’s press conference this morning, and many of us were no doubt anticipating a stay-at-home order like those issued in other states. While Gov. Hogan stopped short of that order, he did close all non-essential businesses, exempting those that provide essential services like health care, food, transportation, public safety, and utility services. He reiterated his mandate that people not gather in groups larger than 10, and that social distancing be practiced in all gatherings outside the home.

We’ve gotten guidance from the Governor’s office that this executive order regarding the closing of non-essential businesses does not, in fact, apply to the University System. And so while our universities remain open throughout this period of remote instruction and remote work, I do want to emphasize how seriously we take Gov. Hogan’s orders to limit the number of people reporting to our campuses.

In a phone call today with all university presidents and regional center directors, I reiterated that we must severely curtail the number of employees working on-site at our universities.

Without question, we do need some faculty and staff on campus. We need them to provide essential services to the small number of students who remain in campus housing and are unable to go home. We need them to ensure the safe and proper functioning of our facilities.  We need them in our labs to maintain critical research that cannot be abandoned. We need them in our clinical sites to offer urgent care to patients and clients.

However, we must be assured that we have no employees on campus whose jobs do not absolutely require that they be there. We must comply with the spirit of Gov. Hogan’s order that people remain at home as much as is possible to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and to flatten the curve of this outbreak.

We’re working with each university to streamline the number of employees who are reporting to campus to support essential functions, so that we can continue to protect their safety—and the safety of our communities. The USM universities are united in this goal, and I thank them for consistently putting public health first.

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Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719