- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The University of Maryland is delaying in-person instruction of undergraduate students by two weeks due to the prevalence of COVID-19 in Prince George’s County, where the school’s campus is located.

While the fall term will begin on Aug. 31 as scheduled, all undergraduate students will be learning online until Sept. 14, according to a university announcement released Monday. Instruction for graduate students and approved research activities will continue as planned.

The spread of COVID-19 in Maryland and in Prince George’s County remains “higher than we had hoped for our fall return,” the university said, citing a recent 7-day positivity rate of 5.4% for the county, the highest in the state.

“I know this two-week delay is disappointing, but it will permit us to phase in the resumption of on-campus activities and allow us to implement campus-wide virus testing,” said Darryll Pines, the university’s president.

UMD also extended its deadline for students and families to confirm on-campus housing, giving them until Wednesday at noon. On-campus residence halls are projected to be filled at less than 45% capacity and move-in will continue as scheduled.

The university is also asking all students living both on and off campus to stay in their residences as much as possible through Sept. 14 as a safety measure. During the online learning period, on-campus dining will be for pick-up only to minimize indoor interactions.

All university students, faculty and staff also will be required to take a COVID-19 test prior to the fall semester and their return to campus.

“It is our fervent hope and expectation that we will resume in-person and blended instruction on September 14,” said Mr. Pines. “At the same time, the health of our university community and slowing the spread of COVID-19 must remain our continuing and unwavering priorities.”

• Shen Wu Tan can be reached at stan@washingtontimes.com.

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