**FILE** The University of Maryland's College Park campus (Wikimedia Commons)
**FILE** The University of Maryland's College Park campus (Wikimedia Commons)

The University of Maryland has canceled all winter commencement activities at the College Park campus because of an increase in coronavirus cases.

“This decision was not made lightly,” U.Md. President Darryll J. Pines wrote Thursday in a letter to the university community, WTOP reported. “We know how important this time is for our winter graduates and their families, but our first responsibility must continue to be the health and well-being of our community. All winter graduates will be invited to the spring ceremony in May.”

The cancellation applies to college, school and department ceremonies scheduled for Dec. 21 and 22. The university’s COVID-19 dashboard revealed 98 positive cases from university testing, plus an additional 12 self-reported cases, as of Monday.

In light of the expected escalation of coronavirus cases, the university announced several measures set to take place immediately, such as canceling all indoor social gatherings where mask-wearing cannot be strictly enforced through Dec. 22 and changing all dining halls and the Stamp Student Union food court to grab-and-go only, WTOP reported.

RecWell facilities will be shuttered from Dec. 22 to Jan. 2 but basketball, volleyball and racquetball activities will be suspended immediately with a limited reopening tentatively scheduled for Jan. 3.

Additionally, students in residence halls will be mandated to depart campus 24 hours after their last on-campus exam and during final exams, students must wear KN95 masks for in-person testing. KN95 masks may be obtained at the Stamp Student Union.

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