Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates:
Classes begin online only March 30; teleworking continues until further notice; all events cancelled.

Coronavirus Preparedness

Updated March 30, 2020

UPDATE ON RESEARCH RESTRICTIONS:
UMCES will be going to severe restrictions on research beginning March 25 at 5 p.m., until further notice. All laboratory and field work requiring a physical presence at an UMCES campus or field site should cease. This gives opportunities for researchers who have temporarily paused their research to prepare for it to shut down for a longer period of time. Researchers should move to maintenance operations, which includes maintaining and caring for animals, important instruments, and cell lines. If your research is on campus, we ask that you get approval from your Director to be on campus to make the appropriate arrangements. Research at an exceptional critical phase requires written approval by the Laboratory Director with a description of the activity and precautions to be taken.

Again, it is important to prioritize research activities that can be done remotely such as data processing, proposals, publications, reviews, virtual research group and administrative meetings, etc. ORAA and all research support offices are still fully functional, largely through teleworking capacity. UMCES particularly encourages the submission of proposals during this period of remote operation as we will emerge from this challenging period. Suitable caveats on timelines and project schedule should be included to give researchers maximum flexibility in ramping up activities.

For those either picking up or dropping off things to campus or working in campus facilities, if you are feeling ill do not come to campus. Symptoms include but are not limited to fever, cough and shortness of breath.


Our first priority it to protect our people and our campuses to ensure that our faculty, staff, and students stay healthy. For updates and preparedness resources from the University System of Maryland, visit University System of Maryland Coronavirus Preparedness and ResourcesWe invite you to share questions or concerns regarding this crisis at engage@umces.edu.

TELEWORKING
All UMCES campuses are teleworking with only essential personnel working on site. This will remain in effect until further notice. Any leave-eligible, non-essential employee unable to telework will be placed on Administrative Leave/or Excused Absenses with pay. The USM has put out guidance regarding telework policies during this period of COVID-19 threat. USM FAQS On Teleworking

People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19:
The CDC has identified conditions that may make individuals at high risk for COVID-19 and have issued recommendations to reduce their risk. If you believe you are in a high risk category and wish to work from home, please contact your supervisor or Lisa Ross at lross@umces.edu or 410-221-2017.

CLASSES
Classes begin again online on March 30. All UMCES and UMD courses will resume on March 30, 2020 and will continue online through the end of this academic year. To ensure a smooth transition, we have put together UMCES Education Information and FAQs, which includes updates on our current education status, course suggestions and resources for moving online, Zoom and Moodle information, tips for hosting online meetings and defenses, and a general FAQ section. Should you have specific concerns, please direct them to the UMCES Vice President for Education’s office at education@umces.edu.  Please continue to copy us on correspondence with the MEES office as well. Student Resource page

EVENTS

All campus events, including sponsored on-campus and off-campus events, are cancelled through June 1, 2020, and no new events will be scheduled until further notice. This includes in-person Convocation and Commencement activities. Vice President for Education Larry Sanford will be exploring ways with the Graduate Student Council and Faculty Senate to honor our 2020 graduates. It should be emphasized that degrees will still be conferred in May 2020, and it is only the ceremony that is affected.

TRAVEL

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has continued to spread globally and throughout the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued higher level travel alerts for various countries and regions.

Arriving from or through a CDC Level 3 Region for COVID-19: Faculty, staff, students, and visitors arriving from or through a CDC Level 3 Region for COVID-19 should self-isolate 14 days  

International Travel: UMCES prohibits all work-related international travel. All personal international travel is strongly discouraged.

Out-of-State Travel: UMCES prohibits all work-related, non-essential, out-of-state travel. All personal out-of-state travel is strongly discouraged.

Essential out-of-state travel may be considered with the recommendation of the Unit Director and approval from the President. To the extent possible, University business-related travel should be made through Travel Services to ensure reasonable coverage as there may be a need to cancel or modify travel plans.

We may require a 14 day self-quarantine for anyone who does travel against policy or advice. This issue remains under consideration by leadership.

Visitors to UMCES: Visits to UMCES by all colleagues arriving from out-of-state should immediately be cancelled or postponed until the alert level is reduced.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT and wellness

UMCES employees can securely seek help for personal or work‐related problems through our Employee Assistance Program, GuidanceResources. Services are available to ALL UMCES students, faculty and staff and their immediate family/household members. To access EAP services online, use the following link: www.guidanceresources.com or access the App searching for GuidanceNow. The web ID is USMEAP. Upcoming webinars include:

  • Why Can't I Stop Eating?  How Emotions Impact Our Eating During COVID-19 Pandemic - March 31 & April 1
  • Managing Worry and Anxiety During the COVID-19 Pandemic - April 1 & April 2
  • Tools To Handle COVID-19 Related Stress - April 2 & April 3
  • Self-Isolating Together:  How to Get Along With Your Partner and Kids During the Pandemic - April 6 & April 7
  • Being An Effective Manager During The COVID-19 Pandemic - April 9 & April 10

COVID-19 Webinar Series Schedule

Creating Your Win-Win: What’s Now & What’s Next
These online weekly meetings for the UMCES community will engage participants in personal and professional development topics as we gather virtually to share, stretch, and build community. Each session will include a brief mindfulness practice, topics of discussion chosen by the group, and brief training sessions that span the personal-professional continuum. 

Graduate students / FRAs: Tuesdays, 3:30 p.m.          
Staff / FRAS: Wednesdays, 12:30 p.m. 
Faculty: Wednesdays, 3:30 p.m.  

Mental Healthcare Resources 
In addition to mental health care options available through UMCES, the UMCES’ Mental Health Committee has assembled a document that information about national, Maryland, and local resources available in each campus’ neighborhood. Mental Healthcare Resources and Contacts

Staying Social: Links and Ideas for connecting socially
Click HERE for ideas for staying connected virtually with colleagues, family and friends, from online card games and gaming to karoake and dinner parties. 

Maryland Unites
For more about how you can help your community in Maryland, visit the Maryland Unites website for opportunities and resources.

UMCES Virtual All-Hands Meeting Videos
Miss a meeting? View them online.

We invite you to share questions or concerns regarding this crisis at engage@umces.edu.


Coronavirus Q&A

What is novel coronavirus? Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and now with this novel (new) coronavirus, which was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”). Source: CDC

How does coronavirus spread? The virus is thought to be transmitted from person-to-person in close contact (about 6 feet). The virus may be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes and produces respiratory droplets that infect a nearby person. People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic; however, some spread might be possible before people show symptoms. Source: CDC

What are the symptoms? The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Source: CDC

What should you do if you have symptoms? If you are experiencing symptoms, you should contact your medical provider.

How can you protect yourself? At this time, there is no vaccine that prevents COVID-19 infection. You can reduce your risk of contracting respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, by taking the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Talk to your medical provider about getting an influenza vaccine. While the influenza vaccine does not protect against coronavirus infection, it can help keep you healthy during the flu season. Flu activity has been high in the United States this year. Currently, your risk of getting the flu is much greater than your risk of contracting COVID-19.

Source: Maryland Health Department