The University of Maryland will switch to mostly online courses at its flagship College Park campus following the Thanksgiving break due to concerns about rising COVID-19 cases across the country.
In a letter to the university community Thursday, President Darryll Pines said all students who elect to travel away from campus for the Thanksgiving holiday should plan to remain away for the duration of the semester.
Students who choose to remain in residence halls for Thanksgiving may stay until the conclusion of the semester, he said.
“Like many of you, I wish for a return to normalcy for our university, including the full resumption of in-person classes and extracurricular activities,” Pines said in the letter. “Yet this virus continues to demand vigilance, patience and perseverance. I believe the actions outlined above are prudent, data-driven, and in the best interests of our university community.”
The university will offer campuswide COVID-19 testing the week before Thanksgiving and will resume regular on-campus testing after the break.
The decision to move courses online was made based on the more than 100,000 new cases of COVID-19 reported nationwide on Wednesday, the highest single-day total since the pandemic began. University officials also consulted the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s research on the impact of climate on infection rates, which Pines said suggests the possibility of escalating COVID-19 cases in the region.
The school also announced the Eppley Recreation Center, Stamp Student Union and other student service locations will scale back operations beginning Nov. 25.