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Information about the Linguistics Department in relation to COVID-19.

Welcome back to the UMD Linguistics department for the Fall 2021 semester, now back in-person after more than three semesters of remote work.

COVID-19 vaccinations are required for all students, faculty and staff returning to campus for fall 2021 semester, and everyone must wear a mask indoors, except in completely private spaces. If you have not yet visited the campus, please review this page: Returning international students should also review the vaccination requirements and the frequently asked questions.

Extensive advice responding to a student who tests positive is provided at the bottom of this page, below the line. A summary of COVID information pertaining to the university is (such as rates of vaccination and positive tests) at this COVID-19 Dashboard

Students, faculty and staff who are vaccinated do not need to be tested regularly. Community members who are unvaccinated, however, need to be tested twice weekly regardless of exemption status. Fuller information is available on the 4 Maryland website: Here is a graphical summary of pertinent general statistics

Instruction is in person by default. Presently there are no official capacity limits or physical distancing restrictions, except for campus healthcare facilities. But following public health guidance, COVID-19 data, and Prince George’s County mandates, the University of Maryland now requires wearing a mask indoors. The requirement applies to everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Additional requirements for wearing masks depend on vaccination status. Guidelines for responding to positive COVID tests are below, under the line.

To speak to the Chair, Bill Idsardi, or Administrator, Kim Kwok, of the Linguistics Department, please phone 301.405.7002

If you learn that a student in your class has tested positive for covid-19 or has symptoms of covid-19 please:

  1. Ask the student to call the HEAL line immediately if they have not already done so already ( or 301-405-4325. The Health Center will start Level I notification to everyone identified as a close contact.
  2.  The class instructor may also contact the HEAL line and leave a message if you are not sure that the student has reported their covid-19+ status yet.
  3.  It is not the faculty member's responsibility to share information about a covid-19+ case with the entire class.  If the student chooses to share with classmates, that is their choice. 
  4.  Within a couple of days of the Health Center being notified of the positive case, ARHU Assistant Dean Kathleen Cavanaugh will notify the entire class via a Level II notification email from the Health Center, after all of the “close contacts” have already been notified.  She will copy the instructor and undergraduate director. 
  5.  At this time, the campus guidance says that you are able continue with your next in-person class meeting after a positive case, unless directed otherwise by the Health Center.  However, each of us has unique and different situations and concerns. If you have questions about your next in-person class meeting and want to discuss options, please contact Kathleen Cavanaugh ( to discuss your specific situation. 

The University Protocol for Positive Covid-19 Cases & Close Contacts was circulated via email on 8/23/21. It has some useful details if you want a little more of the campus background.