Spring Semester Plans: Navigating Through COVID Successfully
Dear Morgan Community,
With the new year comes a new semester and a new opportunity for us to take stock of what’s important for the long-term success of our university and our students. Given the recent surges in positive COVID cases, the prevalence of new variants and an uptick in hospitalizations, we recognize that our collective success aligns with our capacity to limit the spread of the virus and safeguard our community as best we can.
With this in mind, we are resolved to welcome our students back to a fully opened campus for the spring semester with in-person instruction taking place and classes beginning as scheduled on January 24, 2022. To achieve this, we are taking all necessary precautions to better protect our campus environment and enhance our overall health safety. This means that in addition to continuing the health safety measures that were already put into place for the fall, there will be added protections for the spring. And as we move forward, we will continue to carefully monitor the pandemic's trajectory and will share with you at the earliest opportunity any additional pivots that may be warranted.
With the reopening of the University this week and the anticipation of students returning to campus, on the advice of our Morgan Campus Health Monitoring and Response Team (MCHMRT) and Vaccination Management Team, we are enacting the following protocols:
- SUBMIT A NEGATIVE TEST. Beginning Monday, January 10, 2022, faculty, staff and students will be required to produce a negative COVID test before returning to campus. For new and returning students planning to move into congregate living in Morgan-sponsored housing, this means that you will need to produce a negative COVID test within 24-72 hours prior to moving into housing. Students will need to submit their negative test results to the University Health Center and employees should submit their results to Human Resources online here.
- GET VACCINATED. All students and employees on campus must get vaccinated or receive an exemption. New students must submit proof of full vaccination for COVID-19 or receive an approved vaccine exemption by January 14, 2022. View details on the vaccine requirement.
- FULL VACCINATIONS REQUIRED. For those who are only partially vaccinated before the start of the semester, you will be required to participate in testing twice per week until fully vaccinated and must be fully vaccinated by February 18, 2022.
- GETTING A BOOSTER SHOT HELPS. Booster shots are strongly encouraged for everyone ages 18 and older. A booster shot increases protection against severe illness for many COVID-19 variants.
- WEAR A MASK. All students, employees, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, must continue to properly wear a mask or appropriate face covering while indoors on campus in accordance with Baltimore City and State of Maryland public health guidelines. KN95 masks are highly recommended and will be made available at various locations across campus.
- TESTING ON-CAMPUS. On-campus testing will be made available to faculty, staff and students beginning Thursday, January 6, 2022. To schedule an appointment for testing please visit the MSU MyHealthPortal. Weekly testing is still mandatory for all employees and students with an approved exemption. For greater convenience, the days that testing will be available have been expanded from two days per week to four days per week. Noncompliance with the testing mandate will lead to progressive disciplinary actions for both students and employees.
- MANAGING POSITIVE COVID CASES. If you have COVID-19 symptoms do not come to campus. Isolate or quarantine consistent with CDC guidelines.
- PARTICIPATE IN SCREENING. Please participate in Daily COVID-19 Screening Questions. Additional information on the screening questions can be found here.
If you are among the small number of individuals within our community to have not yet received a vaccination, I implore you to reconsider and to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The unvaccinated are the most vulnerable when it comes to contracting and spreading COVID. Vaccinations have been proven to work in reducing the probability of contracting the virus as well as the severity of cases when contracted. And as a reminder, vaccinations are still mandatory for all students, faculty and staff without an approved exemption.
In terms of instruction, while most classes will be expected to be conducted in-person with mandatory mask wearing for everyone and mandatory vaccines for those without an exemption, a number of these courses will also be available via Morgan Flex. To-date, 85% of classrooms that will be in use are technologically equipped for remote or synchronous instruction. Please refer to the course schedule to make sure you know which classes are being offered in one of these modalities. To learn more about remote options and Morgan Flex for this spring, click here.
Finally, should the University see breakthrough infections amongst the vaccinated or those unvaccinated individuals who have received exemptions, those individuals must follow appropriate protocols, including isolation, per CDC guidelines. Please visit our COVID-19 dedicated page on the University’s website for more information surrounding our protocols and vaccination compliance measures as this page reflects the latest updates.
Remember, as we stride toward a new year and a successful spring semester, our collective success hinges on our unified commitment to upholding a common goal. As Morganites we are bound to a community responsibility that aims to ensure the well-being and success of the University and all of the people who comprise it. By doing your individual part, our entire campus community will be better served.
Countdown to spring semester 2022 – looking forward to seeing you on January 24th!
President David Wilson