Due to Coronavirus St. Mary’s College of Maryland Students Won’t be Returning to Campus Immediately After Spring Break

March 11, 2020

The following email was sent to students and staff at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and also posted on their website:

Dear College Community,

As you know, the College has been working closely with the St. Mary’s County Health Department to ensure we can provide our community (students, faculty, and staff) with the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19. While there are no campus-associated or county-associated cases of COVID-19 at this time, we know there are nine confirmed cases in Maryland and that number is likely to grow.

While these may seem like distressing times, we have been advised by the health department not to panic but rather, to be as prepared as possible. The College continues to err on the side of abundant caution by putting measures in place to prevent the spread of illness. We understand these measures have caused disruptions but at this time we believe the risk justifies these disruptions.

One of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to minimize the circumstances in which individuals may interact and transmit disease.

Below are a number of updates related to classes, work arrangements, travel and campus events that will allow us to continue the education of our students while protecting our community. These measures closely align with, and have been adapted from, those to be taken at schools that are part of the University System of Maryland and other higher education institutions.

CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION

Spring Break is the week of March 16 – 20, 2020. St. Mary’s College is preparing to transition to online/remote instruction when classes resume after Spring Break. Face-to-face instruction in lectures, seminars, and other similar classroom settings will be suspended for two weeks beyond the conclusion of Spring Break. When preparing to leave for Spring Break, we ask students to take all essential belongings, medications, and course materials from your residence hall or work space.

Thus, students should plan to not return to campus but to continue their education through online/remote instruction from March 23 – April 3, 2020. Students who are approved to remain on campus during Spring Break must limit their travel to a 50-mile radius of the campus through April 3 (for athletic events, see guidelines below). Students, faculty, and staff who take part in a Spring Break event that concludes before the end of Spring Break may not return to campus at the conclusion of the activity. These individuals should go home or make arrangements to stay at an off-campus location through April 3, 2020.

All residential students are expected to vacate campus by 5:00 p.m. this Friday, March 13, 2020 and remain off campus until Saturday, April 4, at noon. Students requiring additional time to vacate campus or who wish to stay on campus during Spring Break, should request permission via this form. These special requests must be submitted no later than Friday, March 13, 2020, by 10:00 a.m.

The Great Room will be closed for Spring Break (March 14 – 21) as scheduled, and will reopen on Sunday, March 22.

Faculty and students will be using online/remote platforms for instruction, including but not limited to, the College’s Blackboard Learning Management System and Go-to-Meeting. Students will receive specific assignments and directions for their coursework from faculty. Online/remote instruction will occur following the normal course schedule as defined by the course syllabus. Faculty who elect to use online/remote platforms other than Blackboard must provide access to their materials to the Provost’s Office in advance.

Students having questions regarding accommodations or accessibility during this period should contact OAS at adasupport@smcm.edu.

Students and faculty who may have difficulty accessing online/remote materials from home or off-campus, should submit a ticket. If you have special technology needs such as computer or connectivity issues, contact E. Jenell Sargent, asst. VP of information technology and chief information officer at 240-895-4331, ejsargent@smcm.edu.

Students who may have questions about continuing counseling or health appointments are encouraged to contact The Wellness Center at 240-895-4289. The 24/7 Counseling Help Line for SMCM students will remain available to students at 240-895-4200.

Dean Leonard Brown and Student Affairs staff will be available to answer individual student questions on Wednesday, March 11, from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. and on Thursday, March 12, from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. in the Student Activities Leadership Lab in the Campus Center.

Commuter students who have questions are encouraged to contact Dean Brown at
240-895-4208.

Faculty wanting information about the online/remote platforms and/or best teaching practices related to online/remote instruction should contact the Director of the Center for Inclusive Teaching & Learning Samantha Elliott at 240-895-4101 or at slelliott@smcm.edu. For specific training on Blackboard or Go-To-Meeting, contact Senior Instructional Technologist Jennifer Falkowski at 240-895-3141 or jafalkowski@smcm.edu.

FACULTY and STAFF

St. Mary’s College will remain open throughout this period and engage in business as usual. Thus, faculty and staff should report to the College for their normal work schedules. If during the online/remote period of instruction (March 23 – April 3, 2020), a faculty member decides not to work on campus, they must get approval from the Provost. All staff requests should be in accordance with the College’s telework policy, which requires direct supervisor involvement.

EVENTS

All large (> 100 anticipated attendees) non-essential on-campus events scheduled for the period of March 16 – April 3 are to be canceled or postponed. This includes the Presidential Lecture Series and the Mark Twain Lecture. Admitted Seahawk Day, originally scheduled for April 4, has been tentatively rescheduled for Sunday, April 19. At this time, the Open House will continue as planned on Saturday, April 18. We are encouraging organizers for scheduled, mid-size (25 – 99 anticipated attendees) non-essential events occurring on campus during March 16 – April 3 to immediately evaluate whether these events must continue.

For athletic events, all home games, matches, and regattas may proceed but without spectators during the period of March 16 – April 3, 2020. Athletic events that are scheduled to occur away from campus may proceed as scheduled only if they are within the state of Maryland to be in compliance with Governor Hogan’s decree issued on March 9.

TRAVEL

Domestic Travel: According to the Governor’s decree, all College-supported out-of-state travel by students, faculty, and staff is currently suspended.

International Travel: Currently, all College-supported international travel has been suspended indefinitely.

Personal Travel: If you return to campus after traveling to an area that is highly impacted by COVID-19 or come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, you may be required to self-monitor for two weeks upon your return for symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, trouble breathing, or fever). You may even be asked to self-isolate depending on your exposure risk and the status of the epidemic at that time. If you develop symptoms, further action such as isolation and testing may be warranted. The determination of whether isolation is necessary will be made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the St. Mary’s County Health Department. Where you self-isolate will depend on your community status. Faculty, staff members, or commuter students will be advised to self-isolate off-campus. If you are a residential student, where you self-isolate will be determined on a case-by-case basis in consultation with Residence Life staff and, if appropriate, the St. Mary’s County Health Department. If symptoms develop, students, faculty, and staff need to immediately contact The Wellness Center (240-895-4289) during normal business hours. If you are on-campus after-hours, contact Public Safety (240-895-4911). If you are off-campus during the onset of symptoms, contact a healthcare provider or call ahead to a medical facility and let them know about your recent travel risk and/or contact with someone known to have COVID-19.

This period of disruption requires proactive measures to slow disease transmission while continuing to provide our students with an honors college experience. This is a dynamic situation that continues to evolve every day. During this period of uncertainty, know that we will continue to communicate with you openly and as often as necessary.

Thank you for helping us keep our campus community healthy and safe and for doing your part during this public health emergency to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Sincerely,
Tuajuanda C. Jordan, PhD
President