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Local campuses to begin in-person classes in August

St. Mary’s College of Maryland announced in-person classes for the fall semester will start Aug. 17 and end around Thanksgiving.

Mike Wick, the college’s provost and dean of faculty, sent an email to students that the fall semester will have a “hybrid model” between in-person and off-campus instruction. The college, like many others across the country, closed its campus abruptly in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and later continued classes online to close out the spring semester.

“The [college’s] Reopening Task Force work has been ongoing, with members identifying processes and solutions within the guidelines of the county, state and federal governments. Areas include teaching and learning, community health, facilities, dining, housing and athletics,” Wick said.

Michael Bruckler, a college spokesperson, told the Maryland Independent summer activities were canceled at the end of May, which included popular athletic camps open to the public.

“So there are no actual events or activities taking place on campus,” he said. “However, there are virtual events taking place.”

He added the virtual River Concert Series begins this Friday and will continue every Friday through July 31.

Earlier this month, St. Mary’s College President Tuajuanda Jordan said every student, faculty and staff member will be given masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and a digital thermometer in the fall. Infrared thermometers will be used to monitor temperatures of employees.

Many health officials have warned of a possible second wave of COVID-19 cases later this year as the coronavirus continues to percolate through society.

Jordan said campus housing will “de-densify” and the college might have sufficient space to accommodate all students who want to live in the dorms while following safety guidelines. Food services will have to be modified and the teleworking process for staff could be adjusted.

The College of Southern Maryland announced at the beginning of the month it will remain in remote or restricted operations mode until Aug. 16, which is the last day of summer sessions, and only pre-approved personnel currently have access to campuses.

All classes during the fall will be taught virtually, the community college’s website states. Depending on the course, students can expect a web-based class, a real-time technology class that could be a live lecture, for example, or a hybrid method, which combines distant-learning and on-campus instruction.

Ben Latigo, the interim executive director for University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland, told the Maryland Independent through an email that USMSM staff will return to work June 29 for mandatory training on the “Return to Campus Plan.”

University coordinators will return to the satellite campus in California July 1. July 13 is when USMSM will reopen for training programs and Aug. 17 is when face-to-face classes can begin.

“Already two of our university partners will be offering their fall 2020 classes entirely online,” Latigo said, adding that plans could change depending on the COVID-19 pandemic and guidelines coming from the CDC, governor or the University System of Maryland.

Latigo said campuses under USM could start as early as July 15. College Park’s campus will reopen Aug. 31 and some student athletes have already returned for training.

Twitter: @KristenEntNews

Twitter: @KristenEntNews

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