New questions and answers will be added as they are received.
Will there be a phased move in for spring similar to the fall?Yes, move in will take place over three days with sign up times for January 16, 17, and 18. This will limit the number of people entering buildings at any given time.
Will housekeeping cleaning schedules continue as fall semester or be modified?The College will continue with the same protocols established in the fall. In addition to routine custodial cleaning, the College has implemented an enhanced cleaning protocol with increased frequency to clean and disinfect common areas and commonly touched surfaces. An external, third-party cleaning vendor has been secured to assist with the daily cleaning and disinfection of campus.
How will SMCM handle bringing staff back on campus as vaccines are being distributed?SMCM is following state / Governor's orders in terms of teleworking. Teleworking vs. working in person will continue to follow the Governor's orders and in consultation with an employee's supervisor. As vaccines are rolled out, we expect the Governor's orders may change; these may also change if the current surge in cases declines. Even with widespread vaccination we will need to continue other safety measures including testing, mask-wearing, social distancing, and enhance cleaning procedures.
Will everyone be required to get a vaccine?Health care providers will help people decide if they can receive the vaccine. The College will continue to confer with healthcare experts and follow any requirements from the State as they consider a policy/recommendation about the vaccine for our campus.
Will we wait until everyone has been vaccinated to return to campus?Teleworking vs. working in person will continue to follow the Governor's orders and in consultation with an employee's supervisor. As vaccines are rolled out, we expect the Governor's orders may change; these may also change if the current surge in cases declines. Having the majority of people vaccinated will be a huge step towards ensuring the safety of our community and will inform the decision to support asking everyone to return, but other factors (such as the number of cases in the state and county) will also be considered.
Will staff and faculty who have close contact with students get access to the vaccine sooner, and how is that process managed?Distribution of the vaccine is handled by the State of Maryland through the local Health Departments. Here’s a link to the plan for distributing the vaccine locally http://www.smchd.org/covid-19-vaccine/
Will the employee holiday currently scheduled for March 19 (Spring Break day) remain as is, or adjusted to overlap to the revised academic calendar so it coincides with when students have a day off?The employee holiday schedule for calendar year 2021 has been revised due to the change in the academic calendar's spring break. The March 19 employee holiday has been changed to Friday, March 5. This change ensures that offices remain open for business when classes are in session. The updated holiday schedule is available through the Office of Human Resources website.
Fall 2020 Archive
*Town Hall Questions, September 17, 2020
*Some other universities have been using sewage testing as a way to detect the presence of COVID in dorms. Will SMCM be considering this method of testing?
The College’s sewer provider, St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission (MetCom), tests the campus’ wastewater for traces of COVID-19 twice weekly. It is not building or dorm specific, but the entire campus.
*Can you confirm that in-person classrooms are not considered eligible contact as part of contact tracing?We discuss contacts with any person who is ill or has a positive test for COVID-19. If the person shared concern about contacts in a classroom we would follow up with those specific people. Close contact is unlikely in a classroom if everyone follows the social distance rules and wears a mask.
*Is there an issue with the communication of results from the health department to the wellness center? Shouldn't there be a mechanism outside of students self-reporting?The results of COVID-19 testing are considered private health information. All testing sites (health department, private doctor, urgent care centers) report the test results directly to the person who was tested. We work closely with the St. Mary's County Health department and share information as appropriate.
*Do we know the response rate for the SMCM Daily Symptom Checker (for example, how many people submitted it yesterday)?Today, September 23, 2020, we had 1,033 people complete the symptom checker.
*Are staff now able to use the wellness center to get their COVID test?The Wellness Center has always provided tests for students, faculty and staff.
*Why are people who aren’t showing symptoms but been exposed to the virus not being tested?People who were in close contact with someone with COVID-19 can request a test. Even if a test is negative or the person feels healthy, they need to complete 14 days of quarantine since symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
*Can you explain the randomization of the surveillance testing? How often are you doing these? How many a week? Are other Maryland colleges doing this?
Random testing is primarily for the asymptomatic population and will take place every two weeks through the remainder of the semester. This includes students, commuter students, faculty, staff and contractors. This will help us discover asymptomatic people who are COVID-19 positive in order to provide treatment and will help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. People who are not feeling well and begin to present symptoms can visit the Wellness Center or a local health care provider for testing. The random testing will have a faster turnaround time with results in around 48 hours. This is in alignment with what is occurring across the state of Maryland within higher education.
*Is the contact tracing protocol on campus different or the same protocols used by the St. Mary’s County Health Department and Maryland state?
Contact tracing is the responsibility of the St. Mary’s County Health Department. We assist them in this process due to our knowledge of the campus. The county uses the same protocols as the state. We also have people on campus who are trained to do contact tracing so we can add information to St. Mary’s County data gathering.
*Is the Wellness Center keeping track of/contacting individuals who aren't completing the daily symptom checker?
We have a very large population, some of whom are studying, working and teaching remotely. There are too many people for the Wellness Center to contact if the SMCM Daily Symptom Checker is not completed. People who are experiencing symptoms or problems are contacted by the Wellness Center.
Who is required to get a COVID-19 test before the fall semester begins?
Students and staff who will be living on campus have been asked to obtain a test for COVID-19 7-10 days before returning to campus and report the results of the test using the online reporting form located on the Wellness Center’s webpage.
I can’t find a test site. Where can I find one?
You can find a list of test sites in Maryland here. If you live outside of Maryland check with your local health department’s website. You may go to your own healthcare provider or to a local store offering the test.
I don’t have transportation or health insurance or support to get tested. What should I do?
Contact Laurie Scherer at firstname.lastname@example.org to create a plan.
I’m scared to get tested. I heard it hurts to get tested. I don’t want to go to the hospital/doctor’s office/health department to get tested. I don’t want to get tested for personal/philosophical/health reasons.
The newest nasal swab tests require the insertion of a swab to the bridge of the nose. Older tests were more invasive and uncomfortable. Ask about which test will be used and find a site that will do the less invasive test.
Testing sites are set up for safety. They often allow people to stay in their cars so healthcare workers can perform the swab from the car window. If you have to go into a building, they will utilize distancing and mask wearing for safety.
If you refuse to get tested, please contact Laurie Scherer at email@example.com to discuss options. Options include living off campus or completing all classes through distance learning.
How do I report my results?
Use the reporting form found on the Wellness Center webpage. The form can be completed on a smart phone, tablet, or computer and electronically uploaded. Students upload the form to the Student Patient Portal. Use the same @smcm.edu email and password that you use to access your student portal.
The form may be printed and completed by hand then uploaded by scanning the form or taking a picture of the form and uploading the picture to smcm.medicatconnect.com.
Staff and faculty members who reside on campus and are required to take the test can email their form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What should I do if my COVID-19 test comes back positive?If your COVID-19 test is positive, call the Wellness Center immediately at 240-895-4289 and email Laurie Scherer at email@example.com. Follow all guidelines from your provider or the health department about isolation and selfcare.
How much does the test cost?
Test costs vary per test site so contact the test site beforehand to inquire about cost. Insurance may cover the cost.
Which test should I get?
Please get a nasal swab diagnostic test and not the blood test that checks for antibodies. Some sites are offering “rapid tests” and self-tests are available on the internet. As long as you obtain a swab for active symptoms the test is acceptable.
I heard test results are taking more than 10 days. Should I get tested earlier?
Please get tested in the 7-10 day window before you return to campus. We hope the results will return quicker as testing sites get used to the increased volume of testing. If the majority of residential students and residential staff do not have test results before returning to campus, we will communicate an updated plan for procedures to use when returning to campus.
I will be on vacation and unable to get the test in the 7-10 day period before I return to campus. Should I get the test earlier?
Plan to get the test closer to the time you return to campus rather than taking the test before traveling.
What if my results aren’t back when I’m ready to return to campus?
We have created a procedure to identify students who have been tested but haven’t received results. Information will be shared about procedures to follow if you haven’t received test results by the time you return to campus.
The COVID-19 Reporting Form doesn’t require proof of the negative test. Aren’t you worried students will lie?
Requiring everyone to be tested and report results is asking a lot of students. We trust that our students want our community to be as safe as possible and will report results honestly. Obtaining confirmation of a negative test takes additional steps, additional time, and may incur a cost.
In addition to having a negative test report for all residents, we will enforce social distancing and mask wearing. Everyone on campus will report symptoms daily and we will immediately test and isolate anyone with symptoms.
Testing before returning to campus is important and it’s one part of a comprehensive approach to safety for the SMCM Community.
I heard you can buy a form online that says you have been tested and the results are negative. What will happen if students submit false results?
We sincerely hope no member of our community would put others at risk by going to such lengths to avoid being tested. If we suspect a student has lied or paid for a false negative report without being tested we will contact the student and proceed with an investigation.
If a student contemplates lying because they have limited access to transportation, or no health insurance, please refer them to the Wellness Center for support. No one will be punished for lack of access to testing.
What do I do if I’m experiencing symptoms?
If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, stay home or in your residence hall room and away from others (except for necessary medical evaluation or COVID-19 testing). Contact a medical provider to arrange for consultation and testing.
If you are on campus, the Wellness Center will provide testing for symptomatic employees and students during business hours. Call the Wellness Center at 240-895-4289 Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. to arrange for testing. Outside of normal business hours, call the 24/7 Wellness Center Helpline at 240-895-4200.
If you are off campus, call your personal healthcare provider to discuss symptoms and testing options. Location, contact information, and scheduling information for other COVID-19 test sites in Maryland can be found here.
How will I receive my test results?
If testing was administered at the Wellness Center, Wellness Center medical staff will call you with your results. If the test is administered off campus, the provider who ordered the test will notify you of your test results. Once you receive your test results, contact the Wellness Center at 240-895-4289 whether the results are positive or negative.
After being tested for COVID-19 what do I do?
If you live on campus, in consultation with Residence Life and the Wellness Center, you will be advised on the location for quarantine. While in quarantine you will separate yourself from others, continue with risk mitigation practices, and take your courses remotely. Twice daily contactless in-room meal delivery will be coordinated by Residence Life and the College’s Bon Appetit food service. Hot food will be provided as well as food you can prepare on your own.
If you live off campus, you should stay home (except to get medical care), separate yourself from others, continue with risk mitigation, and monitor your health. While in quarantine, you must submit your symptom screening.
My roommate has been tested for COVID-19 because they have symptoms, what should I do?
What happens if I test positive?
Residence Life will assign you to an isolation location for 10 days after illness onset and, at least 3 days (72 hours) after recovery with a resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. If you have to move out of your room to isolation housing you will bring personal items (clothing, toiletries, bedding) and anything you need for class. Residence Life will assist with this process, as needed. Twice daily contactless meal delivery will be coordinated by Residence Life and the College’s Bon Appetit food service. Hot food will be provided as well as food you can prepare on your own (e.g. sandwiches, cereal, etc.). During isolation you will participate in remote learning as is possible. The Wellness Center will check in with you on an ongoing basis. Call the Wellness Center at 240-895-4289 with any questions or concerns.
Faculty, staff, and commuter students who test positive should stay at home, separate yourself from others, continue with risk mitigation practices, and be in contact with your healthcare provider.
A St. Mary’s County Health Department case worker will check in daily. The case worker will notify you when you are able to return to campus and will provide appropriate supporting documentation for your return. During isolation, students will participate in remote learning as is possible. During isolation, employees may continue to teach or telework, as is possible. If employees are unable to complete their duties, they should contact their supervisor or Human Resources to discuss options.
What happens if I am informed through the contact tracing process that I was in contact with a COVID-19 positive person?
If you live on campus, you will be contacted by the St. Mary’s County Health Department who will advise you on next steps. Continue to monitor and record your symptoms on a daily basis.
When can I return to campus and/or in-person classes after testing positive for COVID-19?
You may return after being cleared by the St. Mary’s County Health Department which will provide documentation before employees or students can return. Individuals returning to campus must provide this supporting documentation to the Wellness Center and, if an employee, to Human Resources in order to return.
*Will SMP students be allowed to stay on campus if the school closes? Will they get a reduced price for on campus housing?
Students with SMPs that require a physical presence on campus will be allowed to continue as residential students and will continue to be charged appropriately.
*What are the benchmarks for absentee rates that we should look out for, how should faculty report that?
Faculty should continue to monitor class attendance (remote or in-person) as they would normally do. Students who have unexplained absences should be reported through the Beacon as per regular protocols.
*Can faculty/teaching assistants ask students if they have been cleared through the SMCM Daily Symptom Checker to be in their classroom?Faculty/teaching assistants can ask to see if students have been cleared through the SMCM Daily Symptom Checker when entering a classroom, and have the right to ask that student to not attend the class if they have not taken it or been cleared by the SMCM Daily Symptom Checker.
*If a student is learning remotely but visits campus or a class what is required of them?Students who decide to come to campus should complete and be cleared by the SMCM Daily Symptom Checker. Mandatory testing was for residential students because of their living arrangements.
How does the new start date affect transfer day?Transfer students will move in on August 15 and have a day and a half long orientation, August 15 and August 16.
Will there be an option for students to attend classes entirely online from home?Yes, all classes will be available remotely through the internet.
When will we know if the professor will conduct remote class or face-to-face class?If a professor plans to teach a course remotely for the entire semester, students will be informed prior to the semester beginning. It is possible, however, that professors may use a combination of in-class and remote instruction depending on several factors including their own health and well-being.
Will all classes be recorded for rewatching? Transcribed?No. Course transcription may be available if it is determined as a necessary academic accommodation.
I read that students will have the option to attend classes in person or remotely as they feel comfortable, but it also says that students may have to rotate between in-person and remote learning for social distancing. Can you clarify?Students will have the option to attend any class period remotely. If a student wishes to attend a class period face-to-face, the capacity of the classroom may mean that not all students who wish to attend face-to-face will be able to do so for every class period. If more students desire face-to-face attendance than the classroom can support, a rotating schedule will be used to give each student fair access to face-to-face instruction.
What is the P/D/F Grading option?Students who earn at least the minimum grade for a course to count toward a major, minor, or the Core Curriculum, may replace the grade earned with a “Pass” or “P.” Students who do not earn at least the minimum grade (typically a C-) will have the earned grade recorded.
If a class already has Teaching Assistants in mind or has used them previously, may such TA be trained to act dually as the class TA and the “technology teaching assistant” and be paid by The Office of Provost?Yes.
Will outdoor class sessions occur?Potentially. No final decisions have been made.
Can students be required to attend all sessions of class (as long as with flexibility in how they attend -face to face or remotely at any time) or do we have to offer missed classes?Students may not be required to attend classes face-to-face. Students will have the option to attend their classes remotely.
"Faculty will modify class attendance policies to allow for ad hoc or term-long remote attendance consistent with the guidelines provided herein." Which guidelines specifically?The modified class attendance policies will be consistent with the entire set of Teaching and Learning Guidelines. In particular, faculty will not require physical presence in the classroom and will count virtual attendance and face-to-face attendance as satisfying the attendance policy.
In addition to the P/D/F option, is a normal grading policy going to be available?Yes, both grading options will be available.
Will it be evident on my course schedule which classes are remote only and which have an in-class component?Classes will not be designated as remote or face-to-face.
Students that have heavy lab studies this semester, how will this be taught? The shortened semester means class load is greater and further cuts would be a huge impact.
*Will any sanitary measures be put in place for the rooms over break?
Shared bathrooms will be cleaned and disinfected over break. The absence of students for more than seven days will trigger normal cleaning per CDC's recommendations.
*How often are the suite bathrooms supposed to be cleaned by maintenance for protection against the spread of disease on public surfaces?
Suite bathrooms are being inspected/cleaned once per week by maintenance staff. Additional disinfecting wipes were provided to students to help treat shared spaces within suites.
*If the campus goes fully online, what will students who don’t have a stable place to return to do?
We understand that some of our students have challenging living conditions. Just as we did in the spring when we transitioned to full remote learning, we took care of those students we knew about and allowed them to stay on campus. We will follow a similar process we did in the spring to make sure we take care of all of our students who need it.
*Is there a published move out date for students in November? Can items be left in residence halls?
Move out is November 20 at 5 p.m. for the end of the fall semester. Students can leave items in their residence halls and only take what they need. They should take their room key in order to return in the spring.
*How are you ensuring that students with COVID and COVID symptoms are actually quarantining or isolating in their room?
Students who are quarantining or put in isolation are housed in a specific unit with daily check-ins from the Wellness Center. If they test positive, some students have chosen to go home since that is an option.
*Are students who are isolated/quarantined in dorms still using shared bathrooms?
Students who are currently isolating all have individual bathrooms. Quarantining students are asked to limit their exposure to others but do share bathroom space.
*Are quarantining students allowed to stay in the same residence hall as students who are not quarantining?
Students who are guaranteeing should not be sharing living space with students who are not quarantining. If there is a case where that is happening, contact the nurses at the Wellness Center and they will walk you through proper procedures so that everyone is guaranteeing appropriately.
When is move-in day?
Is there any help available on move-in day to get stuff from the car to the room?
To reduce close interactions the college will not provide staff to assist with moving belongings into student’s rooms.
Are upperclassmen also going to have to live with their teammates?
Housing for upper-division students will follow the housing contracts already signed. Upper-division students will not be reassigned housing based on sports teams.
At the moment I’m assigned to a south crescent townhouse, am I still going to be able to live there in the fall?
Existing housing contracts will be honored to the full extent possible.
What does the statement “exceptions may be made for Open Housing” in PG Hall mean?
Students who have medical accommodations or students who selected Open Housing during the spring room selection process will stay in their current housing assignment.
Does Open Housing indicate that those students are less likely to be placed in single rooms than those in typical hallways?
Open housing is located in a small hall and we intend to keep the number of students on that wing as small as possible.
Will trans and disabled students not be afforded the same protections against COVID as other students?
Trans and disabled students will be afforded the same rights as all students.
Are you considering help in cleaning the student communal restroom areas in the dormitories and other student housing? Knowing the 18 - 22 age group it seems like this could be a great help in keeping surfaces clean from possible problems.
Communal restrooms will receive deep cleaning twice a day.
What will the occupancy for the townhouses be? I understand the traditional occupancy is 4, will it be cut in half?
Housing occupancy in Lewis Quad, Waring Commons, and the Townhouses will not change.
For students who choose to take classes entirely remotely off-campus, what is the process for being released from the housing contract?
Students can indicate they do not plan to live on campus using the Student Intention Survey. Housing contract release confirmations will be sent based on information students provide on the survey.
When is the deadline for changes in housing, for instance deciding to not reside on campus in the fall?
This information will be collected in the Student Intention Survey. The deadline for completing the survey is July 17, 2020.
Is housing affected if one of a group of housemates decides to go remote?
No, student housing assignments are not dependent on current roommate decisions to attend classes remotely.
Are there any options for moving back to campus early to allow for time for COVID tests to come back?
Unfortunately, there is not an option to move back to campus early as facilities and support staff are currently sanitizing and preparing residence halls in time for the accelerated return-to-campus for students.
*As we saw recently, winter athletics were postponed. When can spring athletes expect a decision?
While there is still much uncertainty, a final decision on spring sports will likely be made by mid-February, 2021.
*Were commuter students provided with PPE kits?
Enough PPE kits were purchased and provided to all individuals that would be on campus during the fall semester. Commuter students were directed to contact the Office of Student Activities. If you are a commuter student in need of a PPE kit, visit the Office of Student Activities between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday to Friday, to pick up your PPE kit. Or contact the office to make alternate arrangements.
*What is the school going to do about the continuous parties held on campus?
Students are encouraged to contact their Residence Assistant or contact Public Safety by telephone (240-895-4911), using the CampusShield app, or the silent witness form if they are aware of an upcoming party. Public Safety has responded to every tip they have received regarding parties. Tips submitted through the CampusShield app are monitored 24/7.
*What is the College doing to hold the group of students accountable for holding a large gathering early in the semester?
We are in a public health situation and when we deem that an individual is a threat to the public health of our campus community there is an immediate temporary removal from campus. That is done as a precaution to keep our campus safe. This happened with a group of students early in the semester. After the students were removed and an investigation took place, students were cleared of any wrongdoing and returned to campus after providing a negative COVID-19 test result.
*What risks are posed by our athletes practicing while wearing masks and following the policies set out by SMCM? An athletic outlet is important for mental health and could be useful in making people feel less isolated.The protocols set up by SMCM are designed to minimize risk, and include no contact, face coverings to be worn at all times, and limiting the number of athletes at one time.
*How many students are living in on-campus housing this semester?There are currently 904 students assigned to campus residences. This is about 60% of the undergraduate student body.
*How can we report students that violate quarantine?You can call your RA, contact Public Safety by using the CampusShield app, or the silent witness form: https://www.smcm.edu/publicsafety/reporting/silent-witness-form/.
*The silent witness form does not have violating COVID19 protocols as a reason for reporting, is this going to be added?We will look into adding COVID-19 as a reason for reporting but for now select “Other.”
Will the gym be available?Yes, with limited hours and limited capacity.
Will the dining hall be open for meals or just take out?The Great Room will be open and serving meals, take out options will also be available in the Breakfast Nook and Solomon’s Kitchen. Please visit the Dining page for more information.
Are students going to be permitted to eat together at a table in the dining hall or will they be six feet apart?No more than 6 students will be permitted to sit at one table and each table will be separated by 6 feet of space.
Will bands still be able to meet?Small groups that adhere to guidance from the St. Mary’s County Health Department and the Center of Disease Control, would be able to meet. Students must wear face coverings and maintain at least six feet of social distance from others.
What will everyday life be like on campus for students? Will socializing be allowed on campus, and if so what are the rules surrounding socializing with others?Student life will not look the same but we hope that students will continue to have engaging interactions with each other inside and outside the classroom. We expect students to interact in ways that help ensure the health and safety of the community. Programming will be provided on a smaller scale and many events will be held virtually as well in person.
Will clubs still be able to meet?Small groups that adhere to guidance from the St. Mary’s County Health Department and the Center for Disease Control, will be able to meet. Students must wear face coverings and maintain at least six feet of social distance from others. Gatherings where the community is not able to adhere to the Health Department and CDC guidance will not be permitted. Student Activities and the SGA will be working with clubs and organizations on new ways to provide the student body with engaging programs.
Will there still be campus parties?Gatherings where the community is not able to adhere to the Health Department and CDC guidance will not be permitted.
Do students have to wear masks at the waterfront?Yes, masks will be required on all public grounds.
How will transfer students participate in orientation if they are remote learning from home?While students learning remotely will not get to participate in the full Orientation experience, training sessions, videos, and virtual hangout sessions will be available for students to learn more about life at St. Mary’s College.
Can I decide to learn remotely after I've arrived on campus? If so, would housing be prorated?Meal plans will be prorated based on use. Housing will follow the standard college refund schedule.
Will there be mandatory testing prior to return to campus for students and employees?All members of the College community will be asked to provide a negative test result taken no more than 7 days prior to arriving at the College. Those who are unable to access appropriate testing prior to arriving at the College will be tested upon arrival and will be required to quarantine until the results arrive. Positive tests will be handled through the College's COVID-19 protocols in collaboration with the St. Mary's County Health Department.
Will students be quarantined on return to campus, pending test results?Those who are unable to access appropriate testing prior to arriving at the College will be tested upon arrival and will be required to quarantine until the results arrive. Positive tests will be handled through the College's COVID-19 protocols in collaboration with the St. Mary's County Health Department.
Will a written agreement be created and acknowledged by each student of adherence to SMCM's procedures and specifying SMCM's response, up to and including removal from campus, for violating pandemic protocols?All students will be required to sign a form indicating their acceptance of the responsibilities and expectations outlined in the College's COVID-19 plan. Students who violate our expectations will be removed from campus to continue their learning remotely.
Are there specific plans to address the care and off-campus transport of infected students; as well as contact tracing to limit spread?The College will work with the St. Mary's County Health Department in the event of any positive tests within our College community.
If I decide to learn remotely, is my housing still reserved for the spring semester like it would have been?If students decide to return to housing in the spring semester, and their original space is not available, the Office of Residence will work with them to find suitable housing based on availability.
Will regular COVID tests every 2-4 weeks be implemented?We follow the St. Mary's County Health department guidelines on testing protocols. Currently there is no plan to periodic test all students/employees every 2-4 weeks.
What are you doing to promote the building of an online community, especially among incoming freshmen, many of whom will not come to campus or choose to take courses virtually? Do you have plans to have something like a series of online events or open online platforms where students can connect? Where clubs can meet virtually?Yes! Most Programs Board events will be held both in-person and virtually. Students will be able to participate in these events and even win prizes. Club meetings and events will also be held virtually for remote students.
Are there any guidelines or protocols for those students living off-campus? After all, they are still going to class and other activities.New commuting students will be acquainted with the College's risk mitigation measures during their orientation to campus and will receive a PPE kit. Returning commuting students will be informed to pick up their PPE kit at a specified location. All commuters will be required to follow all classroom protocols and signage guidance while on campus. They will also be required to self-monitor using the Qualtrics App.
Lots of students coming from many states and beyond. I understand they will obtain COVID test within 7 days prior to arrival. Some are from locations that are COVID-free and some from hot spots, many via air. . .What are the steps after they come to campus?In our communication to students about their return to campus, in addition to testing, we'll inform them of the College's risk mitigation measures and ask that they begin to comply prior to arrival. Once students arrive on campus, the College will enforce all risk mitigation measures among students, faculty, and staff populations.
Will restrictions be placed on others visiting the campus?Yes, non-St. Mary’s College students will not be permitted to visit campus unless for official college business.
How will commuter students get their PPE kits?
Does the new start date affect billing?Billing dates will not be impacted.
The College has not mentioned anything about second semester start dates, housing, and food.Attention is currently focused on the fall semester. Arrangements for the spring semester will be determined based on public health status and the fall semester experience.
Will there be a reduction in cost for online classes for the spring semester? Will dorm and food be deducted?Tuition will remain the same for face-to-face and remote attendance. Students not living on campus will not be charged for housing fees or meal plans.
What is guaranteed with the housing deposit, for the pandemic?The housing deposit will be applied to balance the student’s tuition and mandatory fees.
Will you be charging a reduced tuition this year due to this situation?Tuition will not be reduced during the pandemic, regardless of mode of instruction. Throughout this period of disruption students will continue to be educated and supported: the faculty will still be teaching, students will continue to be graded on their performance in these courses, and credit will be received for the successful completion of those courses. Students will continue to have access to academic and wellness support. The quality and professionalism of the faculty and staff, all of whom were hired to provide the best educational experience possible for students, will not decline as a result of the pandemic and, unlike the situation in the spring semester when the College was forced to transition to virtual operations very quickly, the quality of the interactions between the students and faculty and staff will be better because the community has had the opportunity to plan for multiple methods of teaching, learning, and engagement.
For students who do decide to stay home and have already filed on-campus for FAFSA and other scholarships how will that transition and/or change work for funding and billing?Students not living on campus will not be charged for housing fees or meal plans unless they decide to have a small meal plan for their time on campus. If students have decided to stay at home and live with their parents/guardians, they should indicate this on the Fall Student Survey and notify the Office of Student Financial Assistance. Living at home changes the cost of attendance and may result in an adjustment of the student's need-based aid. Adjustments will be made on a case-by-case basis.
*If housekeeping are doing 45% more work, are they being compensated for the extra work? Or have you hired more staff to provide the extra help?The additional cleaning and disinfecting capabilities are being augmented by a third-party contractor, Shine Bright. We are not requiring our caretaker staff to take on additional work responsibilities without compensation.
*Have any of the administrators taken a pay-cut in solidarity with those who work minimum wage during a pandemic, such as our housekeeping and food service staff?Food service staff are not College employees as they are employed directly by Bon Appetit and we do not have input into their salary structure. At this point, no temporary pay reductions are in effect.
How does faculty request that a classroom or hallway get resupplied with cleaning wipes or spray?
Housekeeping staff will refill spray bottles daily. Faculty should direct their office associates to contact the Physical Plant to replenish supplies of cleaning wipes.
Will cleaning products provided have an SDS information in case allergies are a concern for individuals in the office?Yes, SDS documentation will be made available.
Employees are to take their temperature daily using the Qualtrics App. What is the Qualtrics App and where does this information go?Qualtrics is a survey software and the results are delivered to the site administrator, in this case Institutional Research.
If someone gets a COVID-19 test, should they plan to quarantine until they get the results of the test?Yes. If someone gets tested, they should quarantine and report to their supervisor that they have been tested for COVID-19.
Will the SMCM community be tested upon return to campus?Residential students and residential employees should get COVID-19 testing 7 days prior to returning to campus. Residential students and residential employees already on campus should contact the Wellness Center. While waiting for their test results, individuals should continue to practice social distancing and follow health safety guidelines.
Will virtual visitors to campus (who would still earn an honorarium) still be allowed if we have secured LFA funding to support them?Virtual visitors will be permitted as approved through our regular processes.
What are the consequences for individuals who do not wear masks?Members of our community who do not comply with COVID-19 policies will be removed from the campus.
In terms of travel, is the only out-of-state travel that is permissible for COVID-19 research?Out-of-state travel for COVID-19 research is permitted; out-of-state travel for other purposes must be approved in advance.
How will we get authorization to get COVID-19 testing when we haven’t shown symptoms?Public Health Departments are providing for individuals testing without a prescription, including individuals who are asymptomatic.
When will PPE kits be available to employees? Will they be made available following the fall semester?PPE kits are scheduled to be filled the final week of July or the first week of August. Face shields will also be passed along at that time, if not sooner. Gloves are included in the kits but the College is not mandating glove usage. Gloves are provided for the safety and security of individuals; usage is up to the individual. PPE kits will continue to be made available to the College community following the fall semester.
How soon before returning to campus should we get tested? For example, I was tested earlier this month. Is that still valid?We are asking all employees and students who are going to be residential on campus to get tested. Testing for general employees is not mandatory. Individuals should get tested within 7 days of coming to campus.
Under Governor Hogan’s mandate, individuals should still work from home if able to do so. At what point will we need to submit the request to continue to work from home?Individuals should submit requests to the Office of Human Resources when they are called back to on-campus work by their supervisor.
When will we hear who is required to be at work or how an office should be managed? Does an office need to be open since students will be on campus?Yes, offices will be open for business when students return to campus. Protective measures including plexiglass walls are being installed as a barrier in certain offices. Academic support will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Individuals are encouraged to use virtual means of communication whenever possible.
Are we expecting an FY21 budget to be approved on July 28?Yes, we are expecting the FY21 budget to be approved during the Board of Trustees meeting held on July 28.
If someone is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, what is the procedure? Who gets notified at that point?Any individual who experiences symptoms should quarantine themselves and get tested for COVID-19 and inform their supervisors, who will act accordingly.
Should all individuals currently coming to campus follow the Return to On-Campus Work guidelines, especially regarding masks?Yes. These guidelines were effective the day the Return to On-Campus Work guidelines were posted – July 15, 2020. Individuals currently on campus should follow all social distancing and health safety guidelines.
Will Wellness Center staff who need to be on campus have extra protection since symptomatic students will be going there to be tested?Safety policies and procedures are being put in place for the Wellness Center employees.
If a staff member tests positive for COVID-19, will those who have worked with that member within the last two weeks need to be tested?Contact tracing will take place through the St. Mary’s County Health Department. If a community member tests positive, the health department is notified and the contact tracing process begins. Those that need to be tested and quarantined will be contacted directly by the local health department.
Will hands-free doors be installed in all buildings?Some, not all, of campus doors will be modified to be hands-free. Otherwise, sanitation stations will be made available across campus near entrances.
Does the mask requirement extend to outdoor use as well when social distancing is maintained?Yes, masks are required to be worn, unless an individual is alone in a personal space or vehicle.
Students are probably eager to be back on campus and socialize with their peers. What steps are being taken to mitigate any large after-hours socializing on the Greens?The Office of Public Safety will help enforce these policies but the St. Mary’s College community is encouraged to lead by example and practice social distancing and follow health safety guidelines.
*Are members of the greater community allowed to come on campus? If so, are they expected to follow our safety protocols?We are an open campus. It is difficult to control the flow of people onto and off of campus. We have posted on College Drive signage reminding people that they should conduct official business in order to be on the campus. Signage has been put in place reminding the public that we are a masked campus.
*Why are the members of the greater community allowed to access the waterfront?St. Mary’s College resides on state property. The waterfront is public property so it cannot be closed to outside use. We can close down the facilities we offer there, which we have done. We ask anyone visiting to follow our safety guidelines and wear a face covering.
*What are the expectations of tours, especially tours led by sports recruits with coaches, regarding maintaining social distancing?The expectations for student athlete recruits who are with coaches are the same as with admission tours. Social distancing must be maintained between the guide and the family.
*What is the college’s reasoning for allowing tours on campus?We began offering campus tours in the beginning of August in order to support prospective students during the admission process so they have the opportunity to see campus in a limited way. We’ve placed strict COVID-19 related protocols around the tours including one tour per tour guide at a time. Families must use face coverings and maintain social distance. When they arrive at the admission office they present their cleared signal through the SMCM symptom check and use the hand sanitizer before the tour begins. We also reduced the number of indoor location visits in order to keep our current students and prospective students safe.
Can I visit campus with my prospective student?Following the development of COVID-19 protocols, the Office of Admission began hosting limited on campus admission information sessions and campus tours in early August. To help keep our community safe, these protocols include:
- Limiting information sessions and tours to one or two families at a time and by appointment only.
- No more than three guests may accompany the prospective student during the information session and tour.
- All guests are required to complete a visitor’s version of the SMCM Daily Symptom Check prior to arrival.
- All guests are asked to use the hand sanitizer provided in the Admission Welcome Center upon arrival.
- Admission staff, student Ambassadors, and guests are required to wear masks and maintain social distancing.
- The tour route has been revised to reduce the number of indoor locations and tours no longer enter a residence hall or the Great Room.
- Enhanced cleaning procedures have been put in place.
What is the policy regarding students wanting to come home for a weekend. Will they be required to be quarantined once they come back to campus?Students can go home, but they should follow all COVID-19 risk mitigation guidelines regarding masks, social distancing, hand washing, etc. It's best that students avoid large crowds. Students will not have to quarantine when they return to campus.
What is the visitation policy for parents? May we visit with our student off campus, following social distancing guidelines? May we visit with our student on campus in outdoor spaces?Yes, parents can visit their students off campus while following COVID-19 risk mitigation guidelines. Restaurant curbside pickup or outside dining is preferred. Yes, parents can visit with students on campus, but it must be outdoors, following COVID-19 risk mitigation measures including wearing face coverings.
Are external visitors allowed on campus?Yes, but all external visitors to campus must comply with the College’s COVID-19 risk mitigation measures. This includes:
- Visiting students enrolled in courses, or prospective students on individual campus visits;
- Visiting faculty teaching courses;
- Visiting scholars, volunteers, researchers, or human research participants
- Contractors delivering goods or services to campus.
SMCM Community Covid-19 FAQs
Isolation separates someone with COVID-19 away from others to protect the community.
Isolation can be medically ordered and legally enforced.
Quarantine restricts the movements of someone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 while waiting to see if they develop COVID-19.
Quarantine is a request for someone to assess their health and stay away from anyone at risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Close Contact is defined as being within six feet of someone who has COVID-19 for over 15 minutes without a face mask or being sneezed on, spit on, or coughed on by someone with COVID-19.
Casual Contact is defined as interacting with a person who has COVID-19 from a safe distance, or with a mask, or for a short period of time.
SMCM promotes behaviors that prevent the spread of COVID-19. Mask use, social distancing, traffic flow control, enhanced cleaning protocols, and limiting large gatherings help our community be safer. Individual behavior contributes to community health when people take the responsibility to follow community standards, assess their own health, and educate themselves about COVID-19.
*Is there anywhere to buy cleaning supplies (such as Lysol wipes) on campus given that these are difficult to find commercially at the moment?
There is no campus store currently stocking disinfectant wipes. Suites were provided wipes at the beginning of the semester, but the Physical Plant has not yet received feedback as to the inventory of that stock. Faculty/Staff have items provided to them via sanitation stations throughout campus and many departments have used their own budgets to supplement these shared materials. Generic cleaning supplies are available at most local establishments and online for students.
*Is having the Office of Public Safety make more rounds during the weekends an option?
Public Safety is making as many rounds as possible given their staffing levels. They are also responding to reports they receive. It’s very important for the community to contact Public Safety by using the CampusShield app or the silent witness form so they can respond appropriately.
*Is the SMCM Daily Symptom Checker being used on campus in places other than the ARC? Who is checking the symptom checker?
The Michael P O’Brien Recreation Center Arena is asking to see individuals’ SMCM Symptom Checker before entering. Those who are randomly selected for COVID-19 tests and are receiving flu shots will also have their symptom checker reviewed. The Wellness Center receives the responses from the symptom checker.
*Why aren’t we doing temperature checks?
The College does not have the resources to position people at every entrance to all of its facilities. Everyone received a digital thermometer in their PPE kit so individuals can measure their temperature daily. Individuals should self-monitor and submit results via the SMCM Daily Symptom Checker.
*What is the College doing to hold people accountable for not following COVID-19 policies and guidelines?
We are expecting the College community to continue to follow our COVID-19 policies and guidelines. If you witness anyone not following our policies, please contact Public Safety by telephone (240-895-4911), using the CampusShield app, or the silent witness form.
*What are the state guidelines for closing campus due to active COVID-19 cases?
There are no state guidelines in place. Every campus works directly with their local county health department to make that determination. St. Mary’s College will monitor several key COVID-19 indicators that may impact the College environment. They will inform our decision-making regarding, if necessary, the College’s transition to a fully remote teaching and learning experience for the remainder of the fall 2020 semester. These indicators include the College community’s positivity rate within a single day for four consecutive days and overall for two consecutive weeks, absentee rates among the on-campus College community, College quarantine/isolation capacity, and county and state health data and conditions.
*What is the College doing to ensure that contractors on campus wear masks?
Most of the contractors on campus are associated with the construction of the new academic buildings who follow strict requirements including daily symptom checks, health screening, and the face coverings mandate. These requirements are being enforced by our construction manager. For other contractors on campus, the Physical Plant is ensuring that they understand our protocols and are adhering to those protocols. If they don’t follow these measures, they will be instructed to comply or will need to leave campus.
*Why is the College relying on the honor system for individuals to follow COVID-19 protocols?
The College has put in place safety measures and protocols in order to help keep our community safe. We are trusting the members of our community to do what is right and fair to protect themselves and our community. If you see safety measures and protocols not being followed, report it to Public Safety by telephone (240-895-4911), using the CampusShield app, or the silent witness form.
*Why are those who are testing positive not in isolation?
Anyone who tests positive is placed in isolation (some have returned to their remote homes).
*How many people are currently being tested?
Currently, only those who are symptomatic are being tested and that number is reported on the COVID-19 Dashboard. Starting the week of September 21, we will conduct rolling random tests of approximately 3% of the campus population per round.
*If we are randomly selected to get tested, do we need to quarantine until we get the results?
No, you do not need to quarantine following a random test unless you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you should follow proper SMCM procedures.
*What if I refuse to get tested if I am randomly selected to get tested by the Wellness Center?
If you refuse to get tested, your options will include living off campus and completing all classes through distance learning for students, or working remotely for employees.
*Where are the daily symptom checks now that they are not sent through email?
If you are not receiving the daily symptom check, please put in a ticket with the Office of Information Technology at https://servicedesk.smcm.edu/.
*Rather than sending COVID info in InsideSMCM, why not send out a daily email with all COVID related information?
InsideSMCM is the official venue for non-emergency communications for St. Mary’s College.
*Will the flu shots offered by the Wellness Center in October be free?
Yes, the flu shots will be free for students, faculty and staff.
*What are your thoughts on continuing a hybrid semester into the spring?
The expectation at this time is that spring semester will be held through a hybrid mode of teaching and learning similar to fall semester.
*What is the College's roadmap for future responses to the virus? Is the next step to send us home, or are there intermediate stages in which we remain on campus in some limited capacity?
We are not at the point where we have considered going remote. To ever make that decision, we monitor several key COVID-19 indicators including: The College community’s positivity rate within a single day for four consecutive days and overall for two consecutive weeks; absentee rates among the on-campus College community; College quarantine/isolation capacity; and county and state health data and conditions.
No one factor will drive the decision. Should we need to go to the remote learning option, our response and how quickly the shift will occur will be dictated by the factors that have driven it. We understand that we have students who might have no place to go and who need campus housing or who may have other challenges should we need to go to remote learning.
*The silent witness form does not have violating COVID19 protocols as a reason for reporting, is this going to be added?
We will look into adding COVID-19 as a reason for reporting, but for now select “Other.”
What are the key factors that would determine St. Mary’s College’s transition to a fully remote teaching and learning experience for the remainder of fall 2020 semester?
St. Mary’s College will monitor several key COVID-19 indicators that may impact the College environment. They will inform our decision-making regarding, if necessary, the College’s transition to a fully remote teaching and learning experience for the remainder of the fall 2020 semester. These indicators include the College community’s positivity rate within a single day for four consecutive days and overall for two consecutive weeks, absentee rates among the on-campus College community, College quarantine/isolation capacity, and county and state health data and conditions.
No one factor will drive the decision. Should we need to go to the remote learning option, our response and how quickly the shift will occur will be dictated by the factors that have driven it. We understand that we have students who might have no place to go and who need campus housing or who may have other challenges should we need to go to remote learning.
What happens if we have a positive COVID-19 case on campus?
The person who is positive must isolate. SMCM has set aside rooms for students that have private kitchens and bathrooms. Students are encouraged to go home if they can. Faculty and Staff members will isolate at home.
Students in isolation on campus will receive support from the Wellness Center and have meals delivered. Any other items can be delivered without contact. People in isolation may not have visitors.
If you are isolating at home stay away from other family members and ask your healthcare provider or the Health Department for guidance on the safest ways to recover.
What if I had contact with a person who has COVID-19?
Review the definition of close contact and assess your risk. Our community mitigation efforts should reduce the risk for anyone who has had casual contact with someone who has COVID-19. If you had close contact (closer than 6 feet for longer than 15 minutes with no masks) then you should quarantine for 14 days from the date of your last contact with the person.
Students may quarantine in their residence in most cases. They should attend classes via Zoom and avoid activities in person. They may walk around the campus or pick up food but must avoid eating in a public setting which requires removal of their mask around others.
If your contact with a person who is positive for COVID-19 was casual contact you can continue your regular behaviors and follow community standards for wearing a mask, social distancing, cleaning, and assessing your health daily.
If someone you know has COVID-19 or the Health Department calls you to say you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 you will have to assess your risk. If you had close contact you may be asked to quarantine for 14 days while you limit interactions with others and watch for symptoms of illness.
-If you were around someone who was exposed to a person who has COVID-19 you will not be asked to quarantine.
-If you attended class or taught a class that had a person with COVID-19 in attendance and everyone was wearing masks and following distance guidelines you will not need to quarantine.
-If you were near a person with COVID-19 in a classroom or in a hallway or for a short time in a residential setting/office you will not be asked to quarantine.
If you are concerned you may choose to quarantine to protect yourself and others.
Should I get tested if I’m worried about COVID-19?
Testing can sometimes be viewed as a guarantee of health. However, testing provides a measure of one moment in time and doesn’t prevent exposure to COVID-19.
The best approach to keeping our community healthy is to follow the guidelines put in place on campus to avoid exposure to COVID-19. Wear a mask, keep your distance from others, wash your hands, clean surfaces, and assess your healthy daily. If you are notified that you were exposed to COVID-19 please call the Wellness Center at 240-895-4289 to discuss your risk and the next steps to take to ensure your health and the health of our community.
What is the responsibility of the College to the community if we have someone who has COVID-19?
The College has to follow legal guidelines that prevent us from sharing personal health information. We cannot publicly share the name of someone who has COVID-19. We can share the fact that we have a positive COVID-19 case on campus and we recently reported a positive case as quickly as we were able to confirm the diagnosis. Gossip and social media can respond more quickly but often spread information that is untrue or even harmful. Please watch for formal reports of cases and risk on campus and contact the Wellness Center at 240-895-4289 if you have concerns.
The Wellness Center cannot share the names of anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or the fact that anyone was tested for COVID-19. To keep the community up to date on what is happening in our campus community we update the dashboard on the SMCM website. Please know the statistics include students, faculty, staff, and contract workers on our campus who have contact with students, faculty, and staff.
We ensure any person who is positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19 receives appropriate care and has a place to isolate. We interview positive cases about close contacts and then call the close contacts to discuss quarantine. Students are not asked to contact others to inform them of possible exposure. We follow strict legal and medical guidelines on contact tracing.
To be as safe as possible please follow the distancing guidelines, wear masks, and clean surfaces often. The Daily Symptom Checker is one of the best tools we have to assess the health of our community every day. If you teach a class in person please ask students to show you their clearance (the big green check) to attend classes. Faculty members have the right to ask anyone who wasn’t cleared through the Symptom Checker to leave a class or meeting space and attend via zoom.