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University of Maryland planning for in-person classes this fall

UMD released new guidelines for what the upcoming semester will look like, with hybrid classes available and restrictions on class size.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The University of Maryland laid out additional guidelines Wednesday for what the fall semester could look like, with in-person instruction and final exam schedules posted for the upcoming school year. 

The fall semester for the Terps will begin on Aug. 31 with a mix of in-person and online classes, lasting through Dec.14. Classes with more than 50 students will be conducted online due to social distancing limits on the number of people allowed in the classroom. 

Students will be required to wear masks and maintain social distancing on campus, with classrooms distancing seating and getting disinfected every night. Sanitizing classrooms and work stations in between courses will also be required, and instructors will distribute any paper handouts in an online format.

Mary Ann Rankin, senior vice president and provost at UMD, said in a July 8 letter to students and faculty that she anticipates about 20% of undergraduate courses to be offered at least partially in-person, with priority given to classes that "particularly need in-person instruction, such as some labs, performance courses, senior capstone projects, clinical instruction and internships."

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Currently, the university will still have their usually scheduled Thanksgiving break, with final exams scheduled from Dec.16-22. 

If the pandemic has a possible resurgence in the late fall, UMD will direct faculty teaching in-person classes to switch entirely online, Rankin said. If that happens, final semester exams will be conducted online and students won't have to return to the campus after Thanksgiving break.

Rankin said more than 300 proposals to redesign fall 2020 courses have been submitted by UMD faculty. A final course schedule and update will be provided July 15 on Testudo, the university's registration and student services site.

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