Spring 2021: Virtually the Same Experience as Fall

By Lauren Brown | Photo by John T. Consoli

Leave it to this pandemic to make spring look like fall.

The new semester at the University of Maryland is scheduled to start on time Jan. 25, with the first two weeks of undergraduate instruction almost entirely online, just as in late August.

That’s just one of the ways that the university plans to reopen after winter break, echoing in large part the gradual process instituted for the Fall 2020 semester.

“If there is a lesson that we have learned throughout this pandemic, it is this: We must remain nimble and flexible and expect change,” says university President Darryll J. Pines.

To help protect Terps from the spread of the coronavirus, UMD will maintain a “dedensified” campus by housing an estimated 4,500 new and returning students in single rooms in residence halls.

Hybrid instruction will return, with about 25% delivered in person. Education Abroad travel programs remain on hold, but dining halls, libraries, the Stamp Student Union and recreational facilities will reopen with health and safety measures in place.

Men’s and women’s basketball seasons will continue under tight restrictions from the county, state and Big Ten Conference, while other Terp sports are expected to start their seasons in January or February.

Spring break will proceed as planned, followed by two weeks of online instruction and large-scale testing on campus.

The university’s ability to maintain some normalcy during the global COVID-19 crisis is a result of the community’s adherence to “4 Maryland” behaviors: Wash your hands, keep 6 feet from others, wear a mask and stay home if you’re sick. Another factor was the university’s testing protocols: More than 67,000 tests have been administered on campus since August, with results updated on a digital dashboard. (As of press time, it tallied 652 positive tests, a rate of just under 1%.)

This semester, all students living on or near campus and all faculty and staff coming to campus must get tested every two weeks. Frequent cleaning of buildings will continue, and any Terps headed to campus must still fill out a report that they’re symptom-free.


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