January 25

First positive university COVID-19 test of the semester

January 25, 2021

As some students return to the campus for the first day of classes on Jan. 25, the state’s seven-day positivity rate is hovering at about 6.6 percent. Students are required to present a negative COVID-19 test before they move back to College Park and another one within two weeks of their arrival.

On this day, a single positive test is reported through campus testing. Testing requirements are different this semester. Unlike in the fall, the administration required that students get tested at least every two weeks. Failure to do so could result in as much as suspension.

February 5

University implements enhanced safety precautions for La Plata Hall

February 5, 2021

The university implements “enhanced safety precautions” for La Plata Hall due to a sudden increase in cases. Residents are faced with a decision: restrict their activities on the campus for 10 days or return home. They have about three hours to decide.

Students who choose to stay have to get tested the next day.

For the 10 days, La Plata residents are barred from visiting University Recreation and Wellness facilities, the Stamp Student Union and in-person classes, which are set to begin Monday. Residents are allotted a one-hour window to pick up each meal from a designated station at the dining hall.

February 8

In-person instruction starts

February 8, 2021

Despite the spike in La Plata Hall, classes that are at least partially in-person begin face-to-face instruction as planned.

February 18

University announces gathering restrictions

February 18, 2021

Ten days after in-person classes began, university President Darryll Pines and Health Center Director Dr. Spyridon Marinopoulos confirm clusters and outbreaks across the university in a campuswide email. Indoor and outdoor student gatherings are capped at five people.

Pines and Marinopolous call it a “significant and concerning” increase in positive cases both on and off-campus.

February 20

University announces sequester-in-place directive

February 20, 2021

Two days after implementing the gathering restrictions, the administration announces a “sequester-in-place” order — the first of its kind on the campus. Under the order, students in dorms and university Greek life housing are instructed to remain in their residences as much as possible. All RecWell facilities, including Eppley Recreation Center, close their doors for at least a week.

Under the order, students in dorms are only allowed outside to get fresh air in the area immediately surrounding their dorm or to pick up food from the dining hall.

February 23

University quarantine and isolation occupancy housing reaches an all-time high

February 23, 2021

As the order sets in, cases continue to crop up. There are 231 people living in quarantine and isolation housing on Feb. 23.

February 27

University lifts sequester-in-place directive

February 27, 2021

Quarantine and isolation housing occupancy starts declining in the days following the directive. By Feb. 27, there are 128 occupants — the same day the university lifts the sequester-in-place order.

As the month draws to a close, the university announces that in-person classes will resume March 1. Outdoor gathering restrictions are dramatically loosened. Now, 25-person outdoor gatherings are permitted, as are 10-person indoor gatherings.

The number of campus cases show signs of decline, but they aren’t back to where they started this month. Between campus testing and self-reports, there are 32 cases reported Feb. 27. This is two more cases than the total reported Feb. 20 — the day the university announced the sequester-in-place order.

March 1

In-person instruction resumes

March 1, 2021

After the sequester-in-place directive was lifted over the weekend, face-to-face interaction resumes for courses that have in-person components.

March 7

Campus COVID-19 positivity rate declines

March 7, 2021

Campus COVID-19 positivity continues to decline in the days following the sequester order.