Dear UMSON Students,
As the spring semester winds down, please accept a virtual pat on the back for a job well done. We made it!
I am delighted to be able to write a message I have desired to write for more than a year. We are making significant strides toward ending this pandemic through vaccination and our infection control measures, and now we need for you to do your part, as both nurses and students.
The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents has mandated that all students must be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting with the fall semester (which begins Aug. 30), with some limited health and religious exemptions. Information on uploading your vaccination information and how to ask for a medical or religious exemption will be forthcoming in the near future as the USM and University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) work through plans for the various processes.
If you have not been vaccinated yet, you may register for a vaccine through the UMB’s vaccination clinic, located on our Baltimore campus. Additionally, the state of Maryland has opened up vaccination to all people 16 and older. You can check the availability of appointments at Maryland’s various mass vaccination sites here. There is widespread vaccine availability throughout the state. A spreadsheet with advice and information on many of the vaccination sites in Maryland can be found here. You can also call 1-855-MD-GOVAX to register.
August will be here before we know it. Please do not wait if you have not yet been vaccinated. Full vaccination does not occur until two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Becoming fully vaccinated can take as long as six weeks, so please plan accordingly as you will be expected to show proof of vaccination. Please take a photo of your vaccination card if you have not done so already.
Fortunately, with the advancements of mass vaccinations and the lowering rates of COVID-related deaths and hospitalizations, our plan is to resume instruction on campus this fall with increased in-person courses. We are finalizing plans to maintain physical distancing in our classrooms in the fall.
There will still be safety measures in place on campus. This will potentially include, but is not limited to, the continued use of face coverings, physical distancing, symptom monitoring, COVID testing, and contact tracing as appropriate. UMB will continue to evaluate its safety protocols in accordance with updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and state and USM guidelines throughout the year. Our current plan is based on public health considerations and may change, if necessary, to address safety concerns.
Updates will be communicated via The Elm, a digest of which you receive weekly via email. Just a reminder: The Elm is the primary means of communicating with UMSON students, so you should be in the habit of reviewing it weekly. My best wishes for a successful end to the semester and for a relaxing summer.
My best wishes,
Associate Dean for Student and Academic Services
Lori M. Harris
Director, Registration and Clinical Placements