Morgan’s Spring 2021 Semester Reopening Plan
Planning for the Best…Preparing for the Unknown
Please note that while the University remains open, the campus has been closed with limited operations available.
Please refer to the web pages for specific units and offices for hours of operations and how to best contact them.
Morgan State University will engage in a multi-phased approach to reopening for the spring semester, and it will be done in alignment with State and local orders and in adherence with the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With this in mind, Morgan State University has committed to the following key decisions:
HEALTH & SAFETY
- The University Health Center (UHC) will be the designated point of contact for coordination with local and State health officials for all matters pertaining to testing, temperature checks, contact tracing, case reporting and mitigation management (quarantine plans). The UHC, along with the University Counseling Center, will also incorporate telehealth, online appointments and rapid triage into its operational plans.
- Before the reopening of the campus, there will be thorough sanitizing of campus facilities, including classrooms and common/public spaces with scheduled routine maintenance throughout the semester. There will also be increased availability of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipe stations throughout the campus.
- Everyone (students, faculty, staff) has received a "Campus Care Package" by mail, consisting of complimentary supplies, such as face coverings, hand sanitizer and health tips. Everyone on campus will be required to wear a face mask for safety and participate in mandatory COVID-19 testing.
- Campus classrooms, dining halls and the canteen, as well as specified entrances/exits, will be modified to support appropriate physical distancing. In some high-traffic service areas and instructional spaces, Plexiglas barriers will be installed.
- Signage to support reinforcement of CDC guidelines will be posted throughout the campus. The signage, which will include directional and distancing markers, will be used to encourage physical distancing.
- Morgan's online COVID-19 education and safety protocol training module will serve as the educational platform for the campus. In addition, the University will utilize the "GatherSmart" mobile app, making it available to everyone on campus, to support trackable daily self-reported screening. The app can also be used to verify screening has taken place, if needed, for in-person monitoring.
- Health Ambassadors will serve as campus peer mentors and health information resources for students and faculty.
- A revamped Campus Health and Safety Team will be in place to oversee all relevant implementation aspects of the Spring 2021 plan and will coordinate inter-division communications.
- Weekly campus testing and positivity rate data will be shared and made accessible to the campus community via the University's online COVID Update page.
- The academic calendar for the spring is planned to begin slightly later than originally scheduled, with a Feb. 1, 2021, start of classes and an ending date of May 15, 2021.
- To support health and safety, students accessing the campus will be organized according to academic cohorts.
- Instructional delivery will remain primarily remote or online. However, hybrid courses with some face-to-face instruction will be offered based on critical courses needed for various academic majors. Faculty preference and other input greatly influenced the instructional modality for all course offerings.
- Approximately 125 faculty members requested to offer their courses with some face-to-face instruction.
- All students and faculty will be afforded the opportunity to continue utilizing the Pass/Fail (PS/FL) grading system.
- Graduate students involved in theses or dissertation research will be allowed access to research facilities as needed.
- Faculty and students on campus will receive appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) as dictated by the nature of the course. Faculty will include in each syllabus the desired health and safety compliance behaviors for classes being taught in hybrid mode.
- The University will continue to provide technology training and support for all faculty and students where needed.
- Research (particularly lab-based research requiring access to essential on-campus facilities) will be conducted in compliance with current federal and State regulations and guidelines.
- Academic buildings will be opened only to meet the needs of faculty and students participating in research or instruction. A complete listing of academic buildings that will be open and their associated hours of operation during the spring semester will be published on the university website.
- All study abroad programs for the Spring 2021 semester will remain suspended.
- Students will be allowed to work remotely to fulfill employment requirements for assistantships, fellowships, work study, work aid, undergraduate research, etc.
- On-campus housing capacity will be reduced significantly because of the conversion of many multi-occupancy rooms to single occupancy. The University is preparing for approximately 1,000 students to reside in University-managed housing.
- On-campus housing assignments will be based upon timely receipt of application submissions according to designated academic majors as well as requests for special accommodations. To be considered, students are urged to apply online for housing. Student move-ins will be a managed process (scheduled by appointments) with an expected starting date of Jan. 23, 2021.
- Some consideration of double-occupancy requests will be given. For rooms with more than one occupant, social distancing configurations, which may include the placement of dividers, will be implemented.
- All students in residential housing will be required to sign the University's Pandemic Housing Agreement and acknowledge the Community Responsibility Social Compact agreement.
- The majority of student activities campus-wide will be delivered in a virtual format. On-campus, structured student activities will take place under safe social distancing protocols.
- Dining services will be adjusted to accommodate a lower-density model consisting of limited dine-in options with social distancing protocols in place and increased 'grab & go' meal options.
- Students will still not be allowed to have visitors on campus.
- Transportation (shuttle buses or vehicles) will be operational to support movement of students to and from off-campus residential housing. The health of all drivers will be protected with appropriate PPE, use of barriers, and scheduling to reduce density, as well as protocols to ensure sanitation standards are met.
- The University Chapel will continue to deliver services in a remote format. The Hurt Gymnasium will be accessible by reservation to students and staff who have registered for access to campus and have been cleared via testing.
- The University is planning to host the postponed Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 Commencements, along with the upcoming Spring 2021 Commencement, in-person, during a special Commencement Week scheduled to be held following the conclusion of the spring semester. More details will be provided as they become available.
- The return to campus for University staff will be in alignment with State of Maryland guidelines and labor regulations. At this time, telework policies remain in effect, with staggered work schedules for those unable to participate in telework. Staff return to campus will be implemented incrementally, based on conditions and directives from the State of Maryland.
- The University has obtained the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and will provide it to all frontline essential employees as needed to carry out their duties.
- CDC guidelines regarding high-risk employees, as well as State of Maryland guidelines and labor regulations, will be applied to determine an individual's capacity to work on-campus and as a guide for other employment decisions.
- Telework policies will remain in effect, with telework schedules in place where appropriate, along with staggered work schedules to achieve reduced population density on campus.
- Staff will receive training on safety and prevention strategies commensurate with their roles and responsibilities. All staff (administrative, faculty and Physical Plant) will be required to sign a Social Compact.
Please understand that the University's plan for reopening in the spring is all contingent upon where things stand with the pandemic in the lead-up to reopening and what the circumstances are in our city and state. In the event that the situation is not where it needs to be to allow the safe reopening of our campus, the University will forgo these plans and look toward a continuance of our fall operations and protocols.
In the weeks to come, additional information and more details will be shared before your return to campus to ensure all protocols are known and everyone is fully compliant. The University will continue to monitor the situation with the pandemic daily and revisit our decision to reopen in the spring no later than Jan. 5, 2021. In the interim, everyone is asked to contribute to keeping a safe environment and slowing down the spread of COVID-19 by committing to the following:
- Wear your mask (properly).
- Continue to be safely social, avoiding large crowds.
- Wash your hands frequently.
Your patience and understanding are appreciated during these extremely trying times.
Morgan State University reserves the right to provide some or all instruction and related academic activities through alternative methods of delivery (other than face to face), including remote/online delivery. It also reserves the right to change the method of delivery before or during any academic term in the event of a health or safety emergency or other circumstance when it determines that such change is necessary or in the best interests of the campus community. Tuition and fees will not be reduced or refunded if the University changes the delivery method during any period or all of an academic session.