Returning to the Hill with caution amidst Omicron variant spread

(Photo courtesy of Pixabay user imperioame)

With the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreading more rapidly than other strains of the virus, according to UC Davis Health, and the winter flu in full swing, McDaniel College is taking safety precautions to keep students and the community safe during move-in.

With case counts outpacing every other phase of the pandemic, the coronavirus winter surge may have peaked as the seven-day average of new cases in D.C. and Maryland declined during the week of Jan. 9, according to a Washington Post article published on Jan. 13.

Upon arrival, McDaniel is requiring students to provide proof of a COVID-19 booster vaccine and a flu shot. Documentation can be sent to the Wellness Center in advance or brought to the arrival testing area in Gill Gym. Students unable to receive vaccines should communicate their personal circumstances to the Wellness Center.

Once they get to campus, students are to report directly to Gill Gym for their scheduled testing appointment before moving into their residence. Students can make a testing time using the Mobile Order application. To accommodate testing times, move-in is spanning Sunday, Jan. 23 to Tuesday, Jan. 25 while classes kick off virtually. 

Students have been experiencing conflicts with the constricted move-in schedule, different from the normal weekend offered in past years. “I have a job interview [Sunday] so I’m expected to make it on time to COVID testing, move in and unpack, log into teams, and get to my interview,” said sophomore Nina Holybrice.

“It was a major inconvenience to me, who is diagnosed with ADHD, to move in 16 hours before I start classes,” said sophomore Garrett Foster. “Other people who didn’t get the Sunday move-in have it worst with classes the same day [as move-in].”

During the testing period, on-campus food service venues will be take-out only between dinner on Jan. 23 and breakfast on Jan. 26. Scotty’s Convenience Store will be accessible by McDaniel ID as normal, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Giant Pharmacy will be offering COVID booster and flu vaccines on campus on Jan. 25th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Klitzberg Pavilion area of Gill Center. Rapid antigen COVID-19 testing slots will be available for reservation beginning Wednesday, Jan. 19. 

Following Governor Larry Hogan’s announcement to distribute 20 million free N95 and KN95 masks to local health departments and state-run test and vaccination sites, McDaniel College will provide each student and employee with three KN95 at the beginning of the semester.

McDaniel College emails encourage community members to review the COVID-19 Protocols for Prevention, Exposure, Testing, and Isolation/Quarantine, as well as the Community Health Protocols in effect during the spring semester. 

Contact the Wellness Center at or 410-857-2243 with any questions.