University System of Maryland to Require Negative COVID-19 Test Before Students, Employees Allowed on Campus

    The University System of Maryland is sticking with plans to welcome students back this fall but says all arriving students — and employees — must test negative for the coronavirus before they’re allowed on campuses.

    According to the new coronavirus guidelines announced Thursday, all students coming back to campuses in fall must test negative for COVID-19 within 14 days of their arrival and provide their university with official confirmation of the test result.

    Some universities will carry out the testing themselves as students return to campuses. The mandatory testing also applies to employees.

    The university system said the decision to require mandatory testing was made following the recent spike in coronavirus cases nationwide.

    Those who test positive for the virus will not be allowed on campus until they go through a period of isolation. Anyone who tests positive after arriving on campus must consult with university officials about medical follow-ups and isolation protocols.

    USM said universities will provide guidance to students who have been tested but have not received their results by the time the semester starts.

    Students who plan to go on campus must begin monitoring their symptoms every day for 14 days ahead of their arrival.

    “The uncertainty surrounding COVID spread and impact demands that our plans be flexible enough to respond to disease risk in real-time, changing as COVID conditions and safety guidelines change,” the university system said in a statement.

    In addition to the mandatory testing, safety measures on Maryland campuses include:

    • Using masks or face coverings in campus buildings and on campus grounds, in accordance with local orders;
    • Physical distancing of at least 6 feet between individuals;
    • Compliance with local guidance on events and gatherings;
    • Vigilant hand hygiene;
    • Daily symptom monitoring, as stipulated by each institution.

    “Adherence to these testing, symptom monitoring and disease mitigation protocols is essential to the safety of our USM community, and to our ability to resume and sustain in-person instruction this fall,” the system said.

    This week, GeorgetownGeorge Washington and American universities in D.C. announced plans to move to online-only classes this fall.

    As part of Maryland Matters’ content sharing agreement with WTOP, we feature this article from Zeke Hartner. Click here for the WTOP News website.