Dear Terp families,
We appreciate you and thank you for your patience as we respond to these unprecedented times. I want to reassure all of you that our highest priority is the safety, well-being, and academic success of our students. Earlier today, I provided more details to students about support and updates. I’ve heard from students and families today who are very concerned that they will not be able to complete their move out of residence halls or fraternity and sorority houses by April 5 for many reasons. Please know that our staff will work closely with every student and family that has special circumstances to find an agreeable solution. We care about Terp families and always have.
If you and your student won’t be able to return to campus in a timely way to retrieve your belongings and turn in your keys, we have options for you. For some of you, the best option might be to leave your belongings in your residence hall or fraternity or sorority room for now and arrange a later check-out date in April or May. We can work with you on that. Some of you might have a friend or family in the area who would be willing to collect your belongings. We can work with you on that, as well. The university has a relationship with several moving and storage companies. We could assist you in contracting with these vendors to pack and ship or store your belongings for a time.
If you are a residence hall student or family member, and would like to discuss your options with a member of our Resident Life team, please send an email with your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. A member of our staff will be in touch with you after receiving your email. For students and families who are able and prefer to return to campus between March 27 and April 5, please visit the Resident Life Housing Portal to sign up for a move-out time, if you haven’t already done so (by 9 a.m. this morning more than 2,000 of you had already done so!)
For families with students in one of the 21 University-owned fraternity or sorority houses, the respective resident director/house director or Fraternity & Sorority Life staff member will be communicating directly with your student to provide additional move out instructions. DFSL housing guidance was sent to all chapter presidents, house directors, resident directors and house corporation boards on March 19, 2020.
For families of students who live at South Campus Commons (SCC) and The Courtyards (CTY), management staff have sent move-out instructions to students today via email. SCC and CTY staff are prepared to work with students and families who may have difficulties moving out by April 5th. Questions related to the move-out process can be directed to the South Campus Commons (email@example.com) or Courtyards (firstname.lastname@example.org) Management offices.
I want you to understand some of the factors and competing priorities that went into our decision-making regarding residence hall and fraternity and sorority house move-out. First and foremost is the uncertain future. We can’t be sure if and when a shelter-in-place order might prevent students from returning to campus to retrieve their belongings. We’ve heard from many students and families for whom this was a critical consideration. We wanted to create an opportunity for as many students as possible to complete this process in a timely, yet orderly fashion. We also wanted to provide some time for some students to complete this process before classes resume on March 30. For the rest of the semester, much of our care and energy will be spent supporting a community of students who must still remain in College Park - international students and students who don’t have a safe permanent home - and we need to prepare housing for them. We have received many requests for early move-out dates and wanted to honor these requests, too.
Throughout the coming days and weeks, our focus will remain on supporting the health, safety and academic success of all of our students in every way possible, while at the same time meeting the national imperative for social distancing that the current crisis demands of us. Just this afternoon, the Governor of Maryland requested that students who went away for spring break, and were surrounded by many people, to self-quarantine for two weeks before coming back to campus. I trust if your student falls into this category they will abide by these guidelines. As you can see, the information and guidance is changing rapidly. Everyone at UMD wants to partner with you in this effort, as we continue to be responsive to requests and counsel from health experts and local, state and federal authorities.
One of the great difficulties that we face in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is the ever-evolving and changing landscape and trying to honor everyone’s needs. My promise to you is that we will do everything that we can to respond to changing circumstances that impact university life and keep you informed as quickly and fully as we can. We will be responsive to your questions and concerns and we will never stop trying to do our best on behalf of our students.
These are unprecedented times for certain. Please remember to continue checking umd.edu/virusinfo and reading all university communications for the latest news and resources related to COVID-19; and email email@example.com for any non-medical coronavirus-related questions. If you have additional questions, please email VPSA@umd.edu. We are here to support you!
Vice President for Student Affairs