The fall semester at UMBC has been unlike any other. Together, we faced unique challenges and opportunities. Now, it is time for us to start closing out our fall semester. For some Retrievers, closing out our fall semester will mean moving out of the residential halls while some residents have been approved to remain on campus. For others, it may include finishing classes virtually. Some may be planning holiday celebrations and family gatherings.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still a part of our community, which means that it is critical that we continue health and safety practices to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 on our campus and beyond. Here are a few things that all UMBC community members should consider as we bring our fall semester to a close and head into winter break.
Remember the Retriever Community Agreement and your commitment to keep our community strong and well.
- You agreed to practice safe and healthy behavior both on and off-campus including:
Continue to monitor your health.
- Limit local travel prior to traveling
- If you are moving out of the residence halls or planning to travel to a different household, consider limiting your on and off-campus social interactions such as going out to eat, going to bars, or attending small gatherings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Mask wearing and handwashing
- Continue to wear your mask any time you are not alone. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. Use hand sanitizer when hand washing is not available.
- Strict symptom monitoring
- For community members approved to be on campus, Continue to complete the online symptom monitoring tool daily. Monitor your health closely for symptoms of COVID-19.
- Get tested for COVID-19 Residential students approved to be on campus after Nov. 25 are required to sign up for COVID-19 testing and participate in ongoing testing after Nov 25. Please check your email for more details about required by-appointment-only testing.
- Residential students moving out for the semester can sign up for optional testing. Please check your email for more details about by-appointment- only testing.
- For all other community members, visit the Baltimore County Health Department website for information on free COVID-19 testing locations.
- Additionally, residential students approved to be on campus after Nov. 25 are also required to participate in continued UMBC COVID-19 testing.
- If you are traveling home or to other destinations, please consider getting tested before traveling.
- Talk to friends and family.
- If returning home, let family members know of your arrival. Request to have the room or area you will be staying in cleaned and disinfected before you arrive.
- Plan what to do if someone becomes ill.
- Have you and your family make a plan for care and isolation, if someone in the household develops symptoms for COVID-19.
- Know state guidelines.
- If traveling, review any state or local COVID-19 guidelines for the travel destination.
- Plan your travel schedule.
- Traveling in a personal vehicle alone is the safest option for travel. If traveling by plane, bus, or train, give yourself enough time to arrive at the airport or transit station to account for increased COVID-19 prevention or screening measures.
- Avoid mask removal.
- If traveling in a vehicle with persons you don’t live with, continue to wear your mask. While traveling, consider eating and drinking before arriving at the airport or transit station or riding in a car with persons not in your household to minimize mask removal.
- Use hand sanitizer frequently.
- It may be difficult to find a place to wash your hands while traveling. Consider packing additional hand sanitizer to clean your hands.
- Pack antibacterial wipes.
- While traveling you may encounter surfaces that have been frequently touched by others. Consider carrying antibacterial wipes to wipe off things like seats and armrests.
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
- While traveling, you may encounter a number of surfaces, avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose as much as possible.
Create Safe Friend and Family Gatherings.
- Keep gatherings small.
- When you arrive home or to a travel destination, you may want to connect with family and friends. Keep gatherings as small as possible. If persons from different households will attend, ask everyone to wear a mask unless eating or drinking.
- Gather outside.
- If the weather permits or you have devices such as outdoor heaters and coverings, consider having gatherings outdoors. Indoor gatherings have been linked to increases in COVID-19 exposure risk. If you can’t gather outside, consider having plenty of space for guests and opening windows for air ventilation.
- Gather virtually.
- Gathering virtually with family and friends is a safe way to spend time with loved ones. There are lots of ways to make a virtual gathering a great experience.
- Practice physical distancing.
- Continue to practice physical distancing, especially with persons outside of your household. Consider shopping online this year to avoid large crowds or having virtual watch parties for holiday sporting events.
- Avoid alcohol and other drug use.
- The use of alcohol and other drugs limits the ability for persons to effectively practice COVID-19 prevention steps. Consider avoiding alcohol and other drugs during gatherings this year. Having dry or sober events is also a great way to support friends and family in recovery.