The University of Maryland at College Park transitioned all classes to online instruction on Saturday and asked students living on campus to sequester in place. The restrictions will last for at least one week.
The restrictions are a response to a rise in COVID-19 cases at the university. Early last week the administration reported clusters and outbreaks stemming from multiple locations on and off campus, and established new safety measures, such as limiting all student gatherings to five people. This past week, the university reported 95 new COVID-19 cases.
Now, students on campus may go outside only to pick up food from dining halls, report to work in certain university departments or get fresh air in the area immediately outside their residence. Approved lab research can continue. Students living off campus are encouraged to stay home as much as possible.
In light of the outbreaks, the union that represents university employees renewed demands that the administration bargain and negotiate over health and safety protections for workers.
“Our union has been demanding negotiations with the [University System of Maryland] and UMCP about health and safety for almost a year, but they have refused. In order to preserve the wellbeing of the students, frontline staff, and the greater community we again call on them to negotiate immediately,” the union said in a statement, reported by WUSA9. “Our calls for greater safety measures, procedures, and protocols have been ignored for too long and this is part of the reason we continue to have bad outcomes on campuses.”