A vice president-level task force and eight sub-committees were formed with the charge to oversee the development and implementation of policies and procedures that facilitate the re-opening of SMCM as a residential campus for the fall 2020 semester and are compliant with federal and state COVID-19 guidelines.
The guiding principles used to fulfill the charge were as follows.
- Lead with science. Although the science around COVID-19 is constantly evolving, decisions must be 1) based on the best available scientific information about COVID-19, epidemiology, and risk and 2) informed by the latest information and data available from federal and state authorities as well as through SMCM partnerships with local and state public health officials.
- Put health and safety first. The health and safety of our community is paramount.
- Embrace flexibility and innovation. No program, practice, or policy is etched in stone.
- Be realistic. Recommendations and deliverables should be based on a practical and realistic view of human behavior and available resources and capacities.
- Meet our fiduciary duties. We will guard our fiduciary responsibility to the College by not making choices that allow us to fulfill our mission today if they interfere with or prevent our ability to fulfill our mission in the future.
- Provide inclusive and equitable solutions. Our faculty, students, and staff are integral to suggesting, shaping, and implementing solutions. Solutions will consider how they impact members of our campus community differently and how disruptions can be mitigated or accommodated.
- Place agility at the core of our solutions. In our work, we have sought flexibility in all of the College’s programs and services. If something is not working or cannot work, we must be able to pivot quickly.
In light of these guiding principles and after several intense weeks of collaborative and consultative work, the Fall 2020 Reopening Task Force, and the associated subcommittees, presented a series of recommendations that support reopening as a residential campus for the 2020-21 academic year. The recommendations were developed after careful and continuous analysis of the most up-to-date federal, state, and local guidelines, and in collaboration/consultation with Maryland higher education institutions, public health authorities, and the Office of the Attorney General.
The Task Force is comprised of the following subcommittees:
Community Health Subcommittee
Charge: to develop specific policies and protocols to deliver appropriate health and counseling services to students, including the management of COVID-19 related illnesses, in a manner that limits the risk of spread across the community.
Quarantine and Contact Tracing Subcommittee
Charge: to enhance current policies and protocols to effectively quarantine students on campus with COVID-19 symptoms and further develop a COVID-19 contact tracing process for students, faculty, staff, and others who may be on our campus.
On-Campus Housing and Occupancy Subcommittee
Charge: to develop policies and protocols to house as many students as possible on campus in a manner that limits the risk of community spread of COVID-19.
Campus-wide Workforce Management Subcommittee
Charge: to propose strategies for building COVID-19 related capacity among faculty, staff, and student employees in order to prepare employees to support the College in its essential functions while complying with all required health and safety restrictions; to identify resources to provide PPEs to the workforce; to collaborate with legal counsel to determine liability-limitation standards.
Charge: to develop scenarios for hybrid face-to-face and remote instruction and learning during the 2020-2021 academic year.
Athletics and Recreation Subcommittee
Charge: to develop protocols for student varsity and recreational sports competition as well as health and safety guidelines for athletes, coaches, and trainers.
Charge: to develop and implement enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols that support and maintain a safe, healthy institutional environment for students, staff, faculty, and visitors to the campus; to re-configure/stage public spaces that support physical distancing.
Charge: to provide a safe, healthy institutional food service environment for students, staff, faculty, and visitors to the campus that is compliant with physical distancing and all federal food service guidelines.
Student Advisory Committee
Student Government Association
A Student Advisory Committee comprised of 17 students has been developed in partnership with the Student Government Association president and vice president. The charge of the committee is to provide and discuss the concept level processes and protocols that the College is considering employing to offer a fully residential learning experience starting fall 2020. The feedback this group has provided thus far has been invaluable to the overall efforts of the Task Force. The Advisory Committee will continue to be solicited for feedback on re-opening and asked to assist in the implementation process.