Dear Faculty and Staff,
We deeply appreciate the determination and care you brought to your work this spring and, as the summer begins, we know that you are eager to hear about how UMBC will support our students, faculty, and staff as we prepare for fall semester. While much remains uncertain, we would like to share with you the Retrievers Return Roadmap that outlines the principles, assumptions, and strategies that will guide the gradual return to campus.
The health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community remain at the forefront of all of our planning considerations. UMBC’s plan to reopen our campus will be grounded in the best available scientific and medical information and adhere to guidance and constraints provided by federal (including CDC and OSHA), state, and local government officials, as well as the University System of Maryland. Our Roadmap is based on current knowledge and assumptions about what is possible, and we recognize that it will likely evolve as the environment changes.
UMBC’s commitment to shared governance will inform every stage of our planning process. We will continue to engage the campus community broadly, through participation on planning groups, frequent communication, and solicitation of input as plans are developed.
We are planning for UMBC to return to campus in a measured and closely monitored way. Most courses will continue to be delivered virtually, with fewer undergraduate and graduate courses offered either fully or partially in-person this fall. The courses offered in-person will meet two specific criteria: (1) courses required for majors and graduate programs that need special spaces, facilities, and equipment; and (2) courses designed to help build a connection between new students and the campus. For public health reasons, there will be reduced numbers of students living on campus, and we are currently determining who will be given priority for the limited space available.
Most faculty and staff will continue to telework during the fall semester. We thank all of our colleagues for your quick work to move both academic and business processes online, from teaching and advising to the PMP and training. We will identify those offices and functions that need to operate on the physical campus, and we will consider plans to return these functions to the campus with appropriate precautions. These measures will include mandatory use of appropriate PPE, enhanced cleaning services and access to hand sanitizing, physical distancing, training and education, and continued use of remote meetings. Supervisors will be encouraged to be flexible and provide support and alternatives when it is feasible to do so.
While the location and mode of our work together is changed during the pandemic, students will continue to have a distinctive experience centered on their success and well-being. Hallmarks of the UMBC student experience—including innovative teaching and learning, mentoring, career-building experiences, and student organizations and social life—will continue to be available to students as they learn from anywhere and everywhere. Given that the majority of fall classes will be fully or partially online, we are taking steps to provide additional resources and training for faculty to support the success of our students.
Our preparations for the fall semester will also give special attention to the diverse needs of faculty, staff, and students. We understand that individuals have varying needs for access and support, and our planning will take that into consideration. There will be continued opportunity for faculty and staff to ask questions and provide input through shared governance and administrative channels.
Finally, we understand that recovery is a dynamic process, not a single milestone. Our Roadmap is based on current knowledge and key assumptions about what is possible. We recognize that our plan may evolve as circumstances change, and we will adapt accordingly.
We understand that many of you would like to have more details and certainty than can be provided at this time. Please know we are committed to continued, frequent communication as plans evolve and more information is available. In the meantime, if you have questions or input, please reach out through email@example.com.
Thank you for all you do for UMBC. Stay safe.
President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous