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COVID-19 Info

About COVID-19

In response to the outbreak of a 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), Mount St. Mary’s University is continuing to take proactive steps to ensure the health and safety of our community. As of August 4, there is one reported case on campus and 3,016 cases in Frederick County.

Please refer to the resources and frequently asked questions below for additional information to best guide your concerns:

FAQs: COVID-19 Compliance

1. What policies/guidelines has Mount St. Mary’s University developed in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic?

Every member of the Mount community will be expected to fully comply with the policies, protocols and guidelines included in the Return to Campus Plan in order to reduce the health risk to students and employees.

By implementing multiple layers of protection, we achieve the best possible protection. The five key Layers of Protection that everyone in the Mount community can impact are:

  • Face Coverings – must be worn when in the presence of others.
  • Physical Distancing – stay at least 6’ from others at all times; stay out of crowded places; and obey posted room occupancy limits.
  • Handwashing – wash hands often for at least 20 seconds or when not readily available, hand sanitizer should be used.
  • Self-Quarantine – if symptomatic, or you were in close contact with someone who tested posted for COVID-19 (closer than 6’ for 15 minutes or longer) stay home or in your resident room; notify HR (if employee) or Dean of Students (if student) immediately if tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Limiting Exposure – Travel outside of US is banned; supervisors must approve overnight business travel; postpone or limit business travel, if possible; comply with other reporting/testing protocols as designated by the University.

2. What should I do if I experience difficulties wearing a face mask (cloth or disposable) because of a pre-existing medical condition?

Employees experiencing difficulties wearing a face mask may seek an accommodation because of a pre-existing medical condition through the Office of Human Resources. In these circumstances, a face shield may be provided. Students may seek the same support through the Dean of Students Office.

3. What should I do if I notice a member of the Mount community not observing a University policy / protocol?

There have been many changes and new procedures implemented in a relatively short period of time. Everyone is adjusting to a new normal.

Therefore, the university will engage in a variety of compliance approaches:

Pre-Emptive

The University has designated students and others across campus to monitor public spaces to help set the tone for physical distancing, wearing of face coverings, etc.

Mitigation

Step One: The best way to encourage employees, students and visitors to follow the Mount’s policies/guidelines is by setting the example and being consistent. Please take the Mount Safety Pledge seriously.

Step Two: If someone forgets one of the policies/guidelines, politely remind them. Conversely, if you forgot, do not be offended when someone reminds you.

Tip: Approach the person by saying, “I would feel more comfortable if…you wore your face covering in this public space properly by placing it over your nose, etc.”

Step Three: If you are not comfortable doing this, or this turns out to be ineffective, contact HR or your supervisor (if employee) or the Dean of Students (if student) to address the situation.

Step Four: If you are not comfortable turning to HR or your supervisor, employees and students may use the anonymous compliance reporting program, EthicsPoint, to report a violation. Reports can be filed under the Category: Risk and Safety Matters – Environmental and Safety Matters.

Report a Violation

Step Five: Violations (e.g., blatant disregard for infection prevention measures) may result in the immediate revocation of building access privileges, disciplinary action, and/or other interventions.

4. Is the EnviroShield disinfectant application safe for employees/students with allergies and/or other sensitivity concerns? How does it work? Are there any special cleaning concerns?

The long-term disinfectant, Enviroshield Endure (SD90+), is an organosilane (silicon based chemical). It is the latter that polymerizes to the surfaces and remains on surfaces up to 180 days (in some claims they mention up to a year). Once applied it becomes safe for reoccupancy in about an hour. As opposed to most disinfectants, the method of microbial kill for SD90+ is mechanical, not chemical. The silicon creates at a molecular level a crystalline structure that effectively disrupts cell walls (protein or lipid based).

The manufacturer has stated that “Clorox wipes” and the like will not harm the product or reduce its efficacy.

5. What happens if an individual exhibits aggressive behavior towards members of the Mount community?

Forms of aggression go directly against Mount St. Mary’s University’s Code of Ethical Behavior. There is zero tolerance for all forms of aggression. Incidents may result in removal from University facilities and prosecution.

Examples of Aggressive Behavior

  • Verbal harassment, threats or abusive language.
  • Gestures.
  • Racist or derogatory comments directed at others.
  • Sexual language directed at others.
  • Failure to respond to staff instructions. This includes failure to comply with screening or to appropriately wear a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Physical assault.

If at any time you have any security concerns, please contact the Department of Public Safety at Ext. 5357.

FAQs: COVID-19 Incident Plan

Mount St. Mary’s University has developed an Incident Plan to include care instructions for the affected individual, safe-to-return instructions, safety protocols and a communication strategy for numerous situations during this global pandemic. The University’s Safe Teams have worked diligently to establish standard procedures and protocols based on the latest CDC guidance while keeping our top priority, the health and safety of our community, at the heart of our planning efforts.

COVID-19 Incident Plan Process Tree

1. I am sick and worried that I may have COVID-19, what should I do?

Do not come to work or go to classes. (If you are at work, leave immediately.) If you are concerned that you may have contracted COVID-19, seek medical advice by using a tele-health service, calling your healthcare provider, or calling the Health Center. They will conduct a symptom scan by phone and provide guidance on next steps. If you are an employee, contact Human Resources, if you are a student, contact the Dean of Students1.

1The Dean of Students will have oversight for all traditional undergraduate students (resident or commuter); however, the Rector of the Seminary shall have oversight for all seminarians and the Associate Provost for the Division of Graduate, Professional and Continuing and Education shall have oversight for all graduate and accelerated students.

2. What do I do if I’m on campus and come in contact with someone who appears to be sick?

  • If the individual is an employee contact Human Resources, if they are a student contact the Dean of Students.
  • The sick individual should isolate themselves in their office, car or outside alone, and call their healthcare provider or the Health Center for further phone evaluation and decisions about next steps.

3. What will happen if an individual becomes ill at work or during class?

If an individual becomes ill while at work or during class, they should be directed to go home immediately (if an employee) or to go to the Health Center (if a student), even if their symptoms are mild.

In addition, supervisors and/or faculty members may address a particular situation if an individual may be exhibiting symptoms so as to ascertain whether or not the individual should be directed to go home or seek care from the Health Center. Notification should be made immediately to Human Resources in the event of an employee, or the Dean of Students in the case of a student.

4. What is the definition of close contact?

Close contact means someone was closer than six feet for more than 15 minutes from an individual who is positive for COVID-19. It does not matter if the individuals were wearing face coverings.

  • If the COVID-19 positive person had symptoms, the contact time would start two days (48 hours) before they developed symptoms.
  • If the person did not have symptoms, the contact time would start two days (48 hours) before the date of the positive COVID-19 test.

5. If an individual has come into close contact with an individual who came into close contact with someone rumored to be positive for COVID-19, what should I do?

The CDC does not recommend self-quarantine; rather, the individual should continue to self-monitor for symptoms. Concerned individuals can also seek out COVID-19 testing.

6. How are quarantine and isolation different?

Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their healthcare provider.

Isolation is used to separate people infected with the virus (those who are sick with COVID-19 and those with no symptoms) from people who are not infected. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. In the home, anyone sick or infected should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom (if available).

7. What are the quarantine rules for individuals who had close contact to a COVID-19 positive individual?

Under CDC guidelines, individuals who have had close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual must self-quarantine (see care instructions above for quarantine). However, the length of the quarantine may differ depending upon the proximity of the close contact with the COVID-19 positive individual.

Will not have further close contact – quarantine for 14 days from the date you had close contact with COVID-19 positive individual.

Live with person but can avoid further close contact – quarantine for 14 days from when the person with COVID-19 began isolation.

Under quarantine and had additional close contact with COVID-19 positive individual – restart quarantine from the last day you had close contact with anyone in your house/room who has COVID-19. Anytime a new household/roommate gets sick with COVID and you had close contact, you will need to restart quarantine.

Live with person and cannot avoid continued close contact – avoid contact to the extent possible, quarantine for 14 days AFTER the person with COVID-19 ends isolation.

8. If someone had close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual, can they just get a test and go back to work instead of being in quarantine for 14 days?

No. People infected with COVID-19 can take up to 14 days to develop symptoms. The individual must finish the full 14 days of quarantine.

9. If an individual has a “suspected” (but unconfirmed) case of COVID-19, what will the university do?

  • Encourage the individual to be tested for COVID-19. Until results are available, the individual must self-isolate. The individual must remain in self-isolation for 14 days after symptoms started and three days after fever has resolved and symptoms improved, whichever is longer.
  • The university will initiate deep cleaning and disinfection protocols.
  • Begin identifying individuals with whom the suspected individual may have had close contact. Close contact means someone was closer than six feet for more than 15 minutes from an individual who is positive for COVID-19. It does not matter if the individuals were wearing face coverings.
  • If the individual ends up testing positive, the exposed individuals identified as close contacts must self-quarantine for 14 days following the close contact.

10. If someone has just tested positive for COVID-19, what will the university do?

  • Instruct the positive individual to stay home and self-isolate if an employee or if a residential student, the university will arrange for self-isolation.
    • a. If the individual had symptoms, they should not return to work/classes for at least 14 days after symptoms first started and 72 hours (three full days) after fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medicines and symptoms have vastly improved.
    • b. If the individual did not have symptoms, they should not return to work/classes for 10 days past their positive test, and have two negative tests in a row at least 24 hours apart.
    • The university will meet its obligation to notify the Mount community.
    • IMPORTANT: It is against the law to identify this individual by name. The university will not disclose to other staff/students or third parties the name or other personal or health information of the individual who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The university will arrange to thoroughly clean and disinfect equipment and other elements of the environment of the individual, along with frequently touched surfaces and objects such as doorknobs/push bars, elevator buttons, restroom doors, etc., use EPA-approved disinfectants and use according to label instructions.
  • Within 24 hours of learning that an individual has tested positive for COVID-19, the university will notify the Frederick County Department of Public Health.
  • Members of the Mount St. Mary’s community are required to cooperate with contact tracing efforts, including notification of potential contacts, while maintaining confidentiality required by state and federal law and regulations.

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CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants for Students

As of July 6, 2020

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Mount St. Mary’s University (the Mount) was allocated $1,678,020. At least 50% of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) were to be used as emergency aid for students. Upon submission of the Funding and Certification and Agreement, signed on April 21, 2020, the CARES Act provided the Mount with $839,010 in funds to be distributed to students as Emergency Financial Aid Grants. The funds were provided to assist eligible students who incurred “expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child-care expenses.” The July 6, 2020, report below is also provided as a PDF file as is the May 22, 2020 report.

Eligibility criteria

Only students who are or could be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), may receive emergency financial aid grants. The criteria to participate in programs under Section 484 of the HEA include but are not limited to the following: U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen; a valid Social Security number; registration with Selective Service (if the student is male); and a high school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting. The Mount estimates 1,462 students meet this eligibility criteria.

Distribution process

In order to distribute funds to students with the highest need as quickly as possible, the Mount is awarding CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants in two phases. Emergency Financial Aid Grants awarded in Phase 1 of $433,565 were mailed to students on or before Friday, May 22, 2020. Phase 2 awards funds will be determined and distributed later in the year.

Phase 1 Distribution

To be considered for an award, eligible students had to have filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) and enrolled in classes for the spring 2020 semester.

Additionally, the student must have been enrolled in classes that did not take place exclusively online prior to March 13, 2020 and meet other defined criteria. To prioritize students with the most need, the Mount awarded undergraduate Pell Grant recipients $600. Undergraduate students who did not receive a Pell Grant but had an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) less than $50,000 on their FAFSA were awarded $245. Adult accelerated undergraduate Pell Grant recipients were awarded $150 and adult accelerated undergraduate students enrolled in at least 6 credit hours who did not receive a Pell Grant with an EFC of less than $10,000 were awarded $50.

Additionally, eligible students who submitted an Application for Assistance online on or before April 30 were awarded $150 in additional funding. One eligible student who submitted an Application for Assistance was deemed to be of extreme high need and received an award of $3,200.

A total of 1,192 eligible students have been awarded CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants totaling $433,565 in the phase 1 distribution.

Phase 2 Distribution

Phase 2 distribution will occur in the summer of 2020. In order to be considered for funding under Phase 2, eligible students must file a 2019-2020 FAFSA no later than June 30, 2020.

Do I need to complete a FAFSA to receive CARES Act Funds?

The only way to determine if a student meets the eligibility requirements to receive CARES Act funding is by completing a FAFSA. Students who have not filed a FAFSA and would like to be considered for funding under Phase 2 should immediately file a 2019-2020 FAFSA. The FAFSA must be processed no later than June 30, 2020, to be considered for phase 2 funding. Additional details regarding Phase 2 awards and funding will be posted to the website when available.

Are the funds I receive from the CARES Act taxable?

According the IRS website, “Emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need, or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as unexpected expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or childcare, are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code. This grant is not includible in your gross income.”

Do I have to repay the emergency financial aid grant I received from my university through the CARES Act?

No. The funds provided by the CARES Act are grants, so they do not need to be repaid.

What can I spend the money on? Will I need to show receipts?

They money you have received is yours. You do not need to show receipts. The funds were provided to assist eligible students who incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.

Why didn’t I receive a Phase 1 CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grant?

In order to receive funding under Phase 1 you must:

  • Have submitted a complete 2019-20 FAFSA.
  • Be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.*
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen with a valid Social Security Number.
  • Be an undergraduate, enrolled at the Mount during Spring 2020 at the time of the campus disruption due to coronavirus.
  • Meet minimum satisfactory academic progress standards.
  • Have an EFC less than $50,000.
  • Not be in default on a Title IV loan.
  • Not have federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale.

*The Mount estimates 1,462 students are eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

I was enrolled exclusively in online classes prior to March 13, 2020. Do I qualify for CARES Act funds?

You are not eligible for CARES Act funds if you were enrolled exclusively in an online program on March 13, 2020.

How do I get additional information on the eligibility and/or awarding of the CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants for Students?

For questions on the eligibility and/or awarding of the CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants for Students please email mountcovidaid@msmary.edu or call Renee Ginn at 301-447-5382.

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FAQs: General

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms are similar to what you might feel with a bad cold, moderate respiratory illness, or seasonal influenza. These might include:

  • Fever (temperature above 100.4º).
  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing.

How is COVID-19 spread?

The first infections were linked to a live animal market in Wuhan, China, but the virus is now spreading from person-to-person. It’s not yet known how easily this virus is spreading between people. This is why CDC recommends that those patients who are currently infected be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on the severity of their symptoms) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

What travel precautions should I take?

If you are planning any personal travel to an international destination, it is highly recommended to plan for potential disruptions to your re-entry to the United States and your ability to successfully return to the Mount campus. We strongly urge you to stay informed through the latest travel advisories from the CDC and U.S. Department of State.

Currently the CDC recommends avoidance of nonessential travel to China, Iran, South Korea, Europe (Schengen Area), the United Kingdom and Ireland (Level 3 travel health risk).

Until the threat of this virus has subsided, university-related international travel must be approved by the provost or president.

What should I do if I have recently traveled internationally?

If you have traveled internationally to destinations other than level 3 countries, you should report to the Student Health Center as soon as possible on the 1st floor of McGowan Hall to do a risk assessment with our health care team.

Please also report your travel as follows:

  • Undergraduate students – Please inform Student Life at studentlife@msmary.edu.
  • Emmitsburg campus faculty, staff and administrators – Please inform your supervisor, along with Director of Human Resources Kristen Hurley at k.hurley@msmary.edu.
  • Students, faculty and staff in the Frederick-based Division of Graduate, Professional and Continuing Education – Please inform Executive Assistant, Associate Provost Office Denise Ausherman at ausherman@msmary.edu.
  • Seminarians – Please inform Msgr. Andrew Baker.

What should I do if I have recently traveled to an area experiencing sustained community transmission of COVID-19 (level 3 countries)?

If you have traveled to such an area, you must remain off-campus for 14 days for self-quarantine precautions and get checked by a health care professional before returning to campus. This type of virus has a long incubation period (how long the symptoms appear from your time of exposure) of up to 14 days. If you feel ill during this time, you should contact your health care provider. Areas currently experiencing transmission are changing constantly. Please refer the CDC Geographic Risk Assessment list and map.

What should I do if I have been advised to self-quarantine?

For Undergraduate Students

If you have recently traveled to an area of known high risk/exposure, you must remain off-campus for 14 days as noted above. Once you have contacted Student Life at studentlife@msmary.edu, the information will be communicated directly with the Associate Provost’s Office to make them aware of your absence from classes. However, it is strongly recommended that you also contact the Associate Provost’s Office at 301-447-5649 to let them know you will be out. The university is informing faculty/professors that they should be flexible with class attendance and course work policies from absences due to illness or quarantines.

Although you may be healthy during self-quarantine, it is the best way to prevent the possible spread of a communicable disease to which you may have been exposed.

For Others in the Mount Community

If you've been instructed to self-quarantine, please report as follows:

  • Emmitsburg campus faculty, staff and administrators – Please inform your supervisor, along with Director of Human Resources Kristen Hurley at k.hurley@msmary.edu.
  • Students, faculty and staff in the Frederick-based Division of Graduate, Professional and Continuing Education – Please inform Executive Assistant, Associate Provost Office Denise Ausherman at ausherman@msmary.edu.
  • Seminarians – Please inform Msgr. Andrew Baker.

What if I have flu-like symptoms but have not recently traveled to any areas of known high risk?

Those who have not recently visited areas experiencing sustained community transmission, but are experiencing influenza-like illness, especially with fever, cough and body aches, should consider seeking medical attention for the possibility of the flu, especially if symptoms worsen. Students on-campus should contact Health Services at 301-447-5288 and identify yourself as having flu-like symptoms. Students may also consult with their regular health care provider. Faculty and staff who are sick with flu-like symptoms should stay home and contact their personal physician.

How can I prevent infection with COVID-19?

At this time, there is no vaccine to prevent infection with COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself from infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. As we seek to ensure the good health of our community, the CDC offers these everyday actions to help prevent the spread COVID-19 and other flu-like illnesses:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60% to 95% alcohol. It is especially important to wash hands after going to the bathroom, before eating and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • Stay home when you are sick. If you have a cough, fever and difficulty breathing, visit a health care provider. We will continue to ask faculty to work with students who miss classes due to illness.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. The Mount’s custodial services team is wiping down and disinfecting desks, work surfaces, bathrooms and public doorknobs and has installed hand sanitizers at various locations across campus.

What does a “State of Emergency” for Maryland mean?

From the Maryland Emergency Management Agency:

A state of emergency has been declared in order to allow Maryland to coordinate and request emergency resources and support in response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus). A state of emergency allows the Governor to access certain resources in order to increase the State’s response.

A state of emergency is a good indicator that residents should remain alert and follow officials’ orders and news stations in order to be informed of the situation.

Here is additional information about this state of emergency:

Will schools be closed?

States of Emergencies typically do not mandate school closures. It usually is the local school district’s decision to stay open or to close. Check with your school for up-to-date closure information.

Will stores and businesses be open?

This state of emergency does not require employers to close. We ask that all employers consider employee safety at all times and review their teleworking, leave, and continuity of operations plans and policies.

What you need to know about COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

For the latest information on COVID-19 please visit health.maryland.gov

What if I am experiencing anxiety or stress related to the COVID-19 situation?

We realize that following COVID-19 in the news can cause stress and anxiety. Students should contact staff members in Counseling Services or the Center for Campus Ministry, whom are prepared to support you. If you need assistance outside regular business hours, please call Public Safety at 301-447-5911, and they will connect you with someone who can help.

Where can I find additional information about COVID-19?

For additional information about Coronavirus, including signs and symptoms, transmission and risk of exposure, and what to do if you are exhibiting symptoms, please refer to the latest updates from the CDC website. The World Health Organization (WHO) has been posting near-daily reports as this situation continues to evolve. These reports are especially helpful for tracking locations of new confirmed cases as well as updates on preparedness and response efforts.

We also strongly advise you to sign-up for Mount Alerts, as any urgent or emergency communication from the university would come through this channel.

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Public Resources

CDC – Situation Summary CDC – Cases in the U.S. CDC – Information for Travel CDC - Travel Health Notices FDA Advisory Frederick County Health Department Frederick Health Johns Hopkins – Global Cases Map Maryland Department of Health U.S. Department of State WHO – Overview WHO – Rolling Updates

Recent Communications

May 7: A Message from President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D., about the fall semester [video]

April 24: A message from President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D., about Commencement and other topics. [video]

President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D., with an update on commencement, as well as information on credits for room and board; returning to campus for belongings; summer courses at a reduced rate to help students catch up or work ahead; and the fall semester.

April 13: A message from President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D., about One Mount. One Day. [video]

April 3: A Message from President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D. [video]

President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D., with update on grading for the semester, delays in major construction projects, a change in our financial hold policy and a way to help Mount students and community members.

March 25: Seminary Rector's Message Regarding Remote Delivery of Priestly Formation

The Rev. Msgr. Andrew R. Baker, S.T.D., shares a video message of encouragement on the first day that priestly formation is being conducted remotely.

March 24: Changes to Spring Academic Calendar

To The Mount Community
From Office of the Provost
Re: Revision of the Academic Calendar

As you probably know, the pandemic has necessitated some modifications in the calendar for the Spring 2020 semester. This message is a notification of these changes.

See our revised Academic Calendar

As was announced yesterday, one big change is the cancellation of the SPARC festival. In order to ensure enough instructional hours, Thursday, April 23 (the planned date for SPARC) will now be a class day, as will Monday, April 13 (the day after Easter). We are now holding finals during the week of May 11-15.

Please note that the date of Commencement is to be determined (TBD). President Trainor communicated in an earlier email that he hopes to reschedule Commencement for some date during the summer, if public health conditions allow.

We commend the Mount community for adapting so well to remote learning during this difficult time. May you and your families stay well.

Best to all,

Boyd Creasman, Ph.D.
Provost

March 23: Maryland Closure of Non-Essential Businesses

Dear Mount Community,

In response to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement today that all nonessential businesses, organizations, establishments, and facilities need to close as of 5 p.m. today, until further notice, our campuses in Emmitsburg and Frederick are now closed to everyone except those who are designated as authorized essential personnel.

Approximately 40 people will continue to live on campus, including the very limited number of students and seminarians with exceptional circumstances who have permission to stay, several priests in the Seminary and residence life staff members.

Many employees already have successfully made the transition to working remotely and should continue to do so. Those remaining staff and administrators who have been working on campus have received information directly from their supervisors regarding whether to report to campus or work remotely during this time. Faculty who need access to their offices, Zoom classrooms as well as labs to teach their classes should contact their deans to make sure they have the access and support they need. Essential personnel include a limited number of staff in the following areas: Dining services, information technology, maintenance, custodial, security, financial services and faculty who need to be on campus to teach remotely. I ask all community members on campus to practice safe social distancing and hygiene procedures.

I am extremely grateful for all you are doing to keep our university running, particularly faculty and those staff who are supporting them for ensuring that our students continue to be educated the Mount way.

May Mary, our patroness and hope, continue to bless Mount St. Mary’s University and every member of our community.

Be Well,

Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D.
President

March 20: Remote Classes to Continue Through Spring Semester (part 1)

Dear Mount Community:

Over the past few weeks, as the university and indeed the world have faced unprecedented challenges in the face of a pandemic, consideration of the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and the entire campus community has guided difficult decisions necessitated by the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus.

When we made the decision to transition to remote instruction and close residence halls, we believed that the disruption would be temporary, and we would be able to bring students back to campus at the end of this month.

However, as new information from federal and state health officials and directives from the state of Maryland emerge daily surrounding COVID-19, we have realized that maintaining this plan will not be possible. The university’s leadership team has decided that classes will continue to be offered remotely through the end of the Spring 2020 semester. While this is certainly not the way that any of us had hoped or planned for this semester to unfold, it is in the best interest of our entire Mount community to continue the semester remotely. The Mount community takes seriously its responsibility to join the efforts of our nation and world to help stem the spread of the coronavirus. We are hopeful that the aggressive measures being taken at the request of Governor Hogan and public health authorities will contribute to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting public health at your mountain home and in your home communities.

In the first few days of remote instruction this week, I have been impressed by the level of engagement and connectedness that is being achieved even though we are physically apart. Students are remaining engaged through coursework, ongoing communication with faculty, interactive virtual events and personal connections. To make it even easier to stay connected, we have created a Student Resources During Remote Instruction webpage (msmary.edu/studentresources) that provides links to all of the resources that are available remotely, from tutoring to counseling to video game competitions and chat rooms. The Mount family’s bond will not be broken by these temporary changes. Our Mount community spirit will continue to drive us forward, even in these most unprecedented of circumstances.

I recognize the strain that this decision puts on students, faculty, staff and families. Three important questions likely are weighing on our students' and families’ minds, and we are working diligently on these. The following provides some information on commencement, move-out from residence halls and credits for room and board not used. We will be communicating additional information on these topics in the near future.

March 20: Remote Classes to Continue Through Spring Semester (part 2)

2020 Commencement

We remain committed to holding some form of commencement to celebrate the hard work and achievements of our Class of 2020, adult undergraduates and graduate students. The health and safety of all is paramount in how commencement will take form. When it is safe to do so, the Mount wants to celebrate your accomplishments with you and your loved ones. Once a decision is reached, I will inform you immediately.

Move-Out Schedule

I know undergraduate students are eager to return to campus to collect their belongings. With the current challenges around travel and social distancing, we ask for students to wait until April 14 to come back to empty their residence hall rooms safely. If you need access to critical items in the next several days, or there are other extenuating circumstances we need to consider, please contact Residence Life at residencelife@msmary.edu. Residence Life will communicate with students directly soon about scheduling their return to collect belongings.

Room and Board Credits

The Mount will take the following actions to reflect the shortened service period for Mount housing and meal plans:

  • We will issue prorated credits to student accounts for housing for the period of time students are unable to occupy their campus housing.
  • For students with meal plans, we will calculate the value of unused meals. The value of unused meals and flex dollars will be credited to student accounts.
  • All prorated credits will be calculated and applied in late April and may be subject to limitations imposed by financial aid regulations. If there is a balance due on a student’s account, the credit will be applied to the amount due. Any remaining credit will be applied to the student’s next academic term.
  • For seniors graduating in May, housing and meal credits will first apply to any outstanding balance owed to the University. If the account balance is paid in full at graduation, the University will issue a refund to the student for any remaining credit balance.

March 20: Remote Classes to Continue Through Spring Semester (part 3)

If you have questions about the housing and meal plan credits, please contact acctsrec@msmary.edu. The financial impact of the pandemic on Mount students will be significant. With this in mind, we ask you to consider donating 50% of your housing and meal plan credit back to Mount St. Mary’s as a tax deductible contribution. Your gift provides vital resources to every student, program and department as we navigate our way forward. Thank you in advance for your consideration, and we will update you with information on how to make this donation shortly.

Status of Campuses

The Emmitsburg and Frederick campuses are operating under a low-density model, transitioning more employees to telecommuting each day and taking measures to ensure social distancing for those who remain on campus. At this time, the University remains open to faculty, staff, administrators and the very limited number of students with exceptional circumstances who have permission to stay. The National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes is closed. As directed by the Archdiocese of Baltimore last week, in-person Masses are suspended until further notice.

I know that the current environment is disruptive, stressful and rapidly changing. We are committed to doing everything we can to help you succeed during this difficult time. I also encourage you to look for opportunities for learning, for connecting with others and for keeping a hopeful eye on the future.

I hope that each of you and your families remain safe and healthy. May we all draw strength in the coming weeks from being part of the Mount family. May God bless you and watch over you.

Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D.
President

March 20: Testing for COVID-19

Dear Mount Community,

I am writing to inform you that the COVID-19 test came back negative for the member of our Seminary community that I wrote about below. He is feeling well, and our Seminary community is thankful for him, and relieved as are we all. Our Lady, Queen of the Mount, has interceded for us once again in a powerful way.

I hope and pray that you and your loved ones remain healthy.

Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D.
President

March 19: A Message to Mount Students from Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D. [video]

March 19: A Message to the Mount's Class of 2020 from Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D. [video]

March 19: A Message to Parents from Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D. [video]

March 19: A Message to Mount Alumni from Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D. [video]

March 19: A Message to Mount Faculty and Staff from Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D. [video]

March 18 (2/2): A Three-Step Mindset Process (part 1)

We Are Up to the Challenge

All of our lives have been disrupted by the coronavirus, and events have escalated quickly over the past few days. I want you to know that all of us at the Mount care about you and your learning goals. Until this disruption is over, here are three steps to keep in mind as you seek to do your best in this unprecedented space.

1. Expect the Expected: The landscape is changing, including how some of our needs are met. Here’s what we can expect in the short term:

  • Concern about ourselves and our loved ones.
  • Disruption in your education and work.
  • Financial pressure from stress on employers, the stock market and the economy.
  • Difficulty in getting certain goods and services.
  • Disruption of the lives of our loved ones that will also impact us.
  • Uncertainty about what’s going to happen.
  • Emotions of anxiety in ourselves and the people around us.

While this space is not pleasant, these are realistic expectations for most of us. However, we can also expect that health uncertainty will work itself out. We have a strong country, a strong economic base and excellent healthcare system.

2. SEE: This mental health process may help you process your possible anxiety.

  • Separate: If you’re feeling emotions, know that it’s your brain projecting chemicals to give you a message.
  • Embrace: Of course your brain is alerting you about the possible impact on the well-being of your loved ones and your interrupted learning process. Thank your brain, and sit in that space while knowing that your brain is sending you a temporary message. It's okay to feel these emotions.
  • Evaluate: Determine how to play this hand the best you can. What can you do to get the most of the change in this learning model? What can you do to keep you and your family safe without overdoing it? How can you bring comfort to your friends and family? Remember that telling people they're overreacting is not a good strategy!

SEE doesn’t stop your emotions, especially in major situations. However, the three steps should calm emotion to access higher levels of creativity and problem solving. While this uncertain situation may feel worse than reality, it's still a big deal. Keep thanking the emotion for the message and focus on execution even while it's there. Professional athletes call this "playing nervous." You can't stop your nerves. So instead of trying to stop them, you switch to knowing you can operate while they're there. Execute what you need to do regardless of your emotional state.

March 18 (2/2): A Three-Step Mindset Process (part 2)

3. Control the Controllable: You can’t control the virus, and how people are responding around you, but you can influence them through your internal response and social distancing as well as by boosting your immunity through proper sleep, nutrition, adequate hydration (water) and exercise.

Keep evaluating your situation and doing what you think needs to be done in the moment. Acknowledge the situation as best you can and then refocus yourself and your goals and what needs to get accomplished over the coming weeks, despite the disruption. This includes validating the feelings of other students and your family members, and then gently turning them toward the controllable. Embrace this disruption and the opportunities that it presents to slow down and spend quality time with family and hobbies and other interests. When life returns to what you expect, you will see how this situation helped strengthen your resilience muscles.

You are up to the challenge!

In Hope,

Bernard Franklin, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Life
Mount St. Mary’s University

March 18 (1/2): Student Life Team Updates (part 1)

Here are some updates from the Student Life area. All of the staff in SL wish you well. We are all committed to helping you in any way we can. Some of the ways that we can be of assistance are described below. Please reach out and let us know other ways we can assist or support you.

Temporary Service Change for Counseling Services

MSMU Counseling Services remains committed to supporting student well-being and resilience. In light of the campus transition to remote course delivery, and to limit personal contact to reduce the risk of infection, Counseling Services is implementing the following temporary service changes. These changes are in effect from Wednesday, March 18 through Friday, March 30:

  1. Counseling Services will offer students currently enrolled in ongoing counseling the option of phone appointments or local referrals. Counselors will be in touch with their students by email to coordinate.
  2. Any student not currently enrolled in counseling who wants to speak to a counselor can reach out by phone or email to a counselor directly for consultation.

    Gerald Rooth: 301-447-5003, rooth@msmary.edu
    Alesha Leonard: 301-447-5002, a.r.leonard@msmary.edu
    Elizabeth Kellett: 301-447-3429, e.f.kellett@msmary.edu

  3. Psychotherapy groups and workshops will be temporarily suspended during this time period. Group and workshop participants with questions may reach out to their group facilitator.
  4. In a life-threatening situation, call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency room.
    For non-life threatening situations, contact a counselor directly (see above).
    On weekdays after 5 p.m., weekends, and holidays, call Public Safety at 301-447-5357.
  5. Students with questions can contact Gerald Rooth, director of Counseling Services: 301-447-5003, rooth@msmary.edu.

Esports - A Way to Stay Connected with Your Peers via Distance

During this time away from campus, some of you might miss out on your usual social interactions. The esports program runs a Discord server where many of us gather to hang out and interact via text, voice and video. We also play games together, and have rooms in Discord to chat about coursework and all sorts of things. If you're looking for some social interaction, regardless of whether or not you consider yourself to be a gamer, please join us. You can access Discord through your browser or through the app.

Access Discord

March 18 (1/2): Student Life Team Updates (part 2)

Residence Life

We miss having you on campus! Housing Selection for 2020-21 has begun! Junior/Senior Selection started yesterday and concludes today; Sophomore Selection is on Thursday and Friday (3/19 and 3/20). Wish List Selection is Wednesday, 3/25. Questions? Contact us at residencelife@msmary.edu.

Campus Activities Office

The Campus Activities Office is re-evaluating the AMP calendar of events to meet the latest event management standards in light of COVID-19 directives from the local, state and federal governments as well as artist, venue and vendor restrictions. More information will be shared in the coming weeks. If you have any questions, please contact campusactivities@msmary.edu.

Center for Student Diversity

Leon Dixon stands ready to assist and support you. He is getting the office organized for your return and making plans for the end of the semester, while looking to next year. Feel free to reach out to him if he can assist or support you in any way!

Campus Recreation/ARCC Hours of Operations

Per Governor Larry Hogan's March 16 directive designed to slow the spread of the COVID-19, the Knott Athletic Recreation Convocation Complex (ARCC) is closed until further notice. Though you cannot work out with us, you don’t need to stop sweating. Follow us on Instagram @mountfitness_wellness for helpful tips you can be doing at home!

Bernard Franklin, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Life
Mount St. Mary’s University

March 17: Live Significantly podcast: Special Message in Response to COVID-19

Live Significantly podcast with President Trainor

Mount St. Mary's University President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D., with a special message on the Mount's response to COVID-19.

live-significantly-podcast---special-message-in-response-to-covid-19-825.193.png

March 16: Testing for COVID-19 (part 1)

Dear Mount Community,

I write to share that a member of the Mount St. Mary’s Seminary community was tested this afternoon for COVID-19. The individual learned this morning that he had been in contact with someone outside Maryland who tested positive for the virus. Given that he has mild symptoms, he was sent for testing this afternoon and is now in quarantine away from main campus. We pray for a negative test and restoration of good health for this individual. Results of the test are expected in the next day or two and will be communicated to you.

The Mount, working with the Frederick County Health Department and Maryland Department of Health and monitoring guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has established protocols for evaluating patients who have symptoms and concern for COVID-19. We are identifying those in the Seminary with who this individual has been in close contact in case he tests positive. The University exercised our response protocols in this case and will continue to take appropriate measures to protect the health of our community.

Please continue the following to keep yourself and our campus safe:

  • Everyone should be vigilant and take precautions to prevent the spread of viral illness: wash your hands, cough and sneeze into your elbow, and refrain from touching your face.
  • If you are sick with a respiratory illness (cough, sneeze, breathing problems, etc.), you should stay home, avoid other people and contact your healthcare provider if needed. These precautions are of utmost importance in keeping our campus safe.
  • If you have fever or respiratory symptoms and have a reason to think you were exposed to COVID-19, please contact your healthcare provider by phone or Health Services at 301-447-5288 before going to a health care facility. This allows the provider to prepare to receive and evaluate you quickly and safely.
  • We recognize that the uncertainty around coronavirus may cause stress and anxiety. If needed, mental health resources are available from University Counseling Services or Frederick County’s 211 services.
  • For up-to-date information about coronavirus, please visit our COVID-19 Information webpage.

March 16: Testing for COVID-19 (part 2)

Our custodial team members have been thoroughly sanitizing door knobs, desk tops, work spaces, and other spaces across campus. Please join me in thanking them for their work. Thank you to our entire community for fearlessly rallying together to protect the health and well-being of all members of the Mount family.

This new development is certain to raise questions and concerns, and we will address them to the best of our ability. Again, I will communicate the test results of this individual when known. Rest assured that the safety and well-being of our students, seminarians, faculty and staff remain our highest priority.

Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D.
President

March 16: ARCC Update

Per Governor Larry Hogan's directive this morning designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the Knott Athletic Recreation Convocation Complex (ARCC) is now closed until further notice.

March 13: Northeast Conference Cancels All Remaining 2019-20 Competitions & Practices

With the evolving nature of the COVID-19 public health threat and in light of yesterday's announcement by the NCAA to cancel the remaining NCAA championships, the Northeast Conference Presidents convened by conference call this morning and voted to cancel all competition (conference and non-conference) as well as organized and formal practices for all teams on NEC campuses for the remainder of the spring semester. In addition, the NEC has announced a moratorium on all on- and off-campus in-person recruiting activities until further notice.

Yesterday, the NEC announced that the remainder of the 2020 NEC Women's Basketball Tournament has been canceled and the upcoming NEC Women's Bowling Tournament was also canceled.

March 11 (2/2): Classes suspended after last class tonight and temporary transition to remote delivery (part 1)

Dear Mount Community:

Acting with an abundance of concern for the health and well-being of our community, the university’s leadership team has decided to suspend face-to-face instruction at our Emmitsburg and Frederick campuses and transition to remote instruction effective at the end of today until Monday, March 30. This decision, guided by social distancing advice from state and federal health officials, seeks to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 within the campus community. There currently are no cases of COVID-19 on our campuses or in Frederick County.

  • There will be no classes from Thursday, March 12 through Tuesday, March 17 as faculty prepare their courses for remote delivery.
  • Beginning on Wednesday, March 18, faculty will teach their classes remotely “the Mount way,” featuring remote face-to-face instruction and virtual office hours as well as remote provision of learning and counseling services as well as the writing center.
  • Advising on course selection for 2020-21 will also be done remotely from March 18 to March 30.
  • Education practicums and internships will continue unless the sponsoring organization suspends operation.

We recognize this is an interruption to our educational delivery system and are committed to ensuring that students have a successful learning experience this semester. Thank you to our faculty and staff for supporting this transition and for your commitment to student learning.

Open for Students Who Are Unable to Leave

Students residing in university housing are strongly encouraged to leave campus by Saturday, March 14 unless approved to remain. We recognize that there are a variety of life or logistical circumstances that may make this expectation challenging. Students who have a need to remain on campus should complete the Request to Stay form below. Students should take home all the materials needed to resume coursework remotely and any other essential or valuable items such as medications. Items left behind should be organized so they can be packed and moved if necessary.

Request to Stay form

March 11 (2/2): Classes suspended after last class tonight and temporary transition to remote delivery (part 2)

Open for Business

The university will remain open and all our business operations will continue until further notice. University services such as the Student Health Center, dining, library and the ARCC will remain open but may be limited in some cases due to social distancing protocols. More information about these restrictions will be provided in the coming days. University-related international travel is suspended until further notice. University-related domestic air travel needs to be approved by Cabinet-level officers.

Supervisors will be working with employees on implementing appropriate social distancing practices to help protect the significantly reduced population that remains on campus.

Co-Curricular Events

Co-curricular events, and outside group visits to campus will be canceled or postponed from Friday, March 13 through Sunday, March 29. The Athletic Department is coordinating with the NCAA and Northeast Conference regarding spring athletic schedules.

Additional Information

We strongly encourage members of our community to review the self-care and travel guidelines for Mount students, faculty and staff posted on our COVID-19 Information webpage. We encourage you to make social distancing part of your daily routine and limit travel to no more than 50 miles from home per recent guidance from the University of Maryland Medical System.

Restoration of campus operations to normal is currently anticipated to be March 30. We will continue to consult with local and state health and higher education authorities and will make future decisions with your health and well-being in the forefront of our minds.

I know there may be questions about how this transition may affect completion of the semester and commencement. We are committed to successfully completing classes while protecting the health of our community, and will communicate updates to our community regularly. Please send questions or concerns to president@msmary.edu.

On behalf of our senior leadership, thank you for your commitment to the health and safety of our community and our educational mission during this challenging time. Please join me in continued prayer for a swift containment of this virus and recovery of those afflicted. As stated in 3 John 1:2: “Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.”

March 11 (1/2): Updated - University Response to COVID-19

The Mount's leadership team continues to monitor the coronavirus outbreak, which has just been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, and the evolving complexities associated with it. To date, no instances of the virus have been detected on our campuses or in Frederick County.

We are aware that several universities in Maryland are suspending in-person instruction for various periods of time. We are in conversations with experts, our leadership team, the Board of Trustees and other universities to determine the best course of action to keep our students, faculty and staff safe while preserving our educational mission. I anticipate providing another update soon. Please keep practicing the CDC recommended healthy hygiene practices we have passed out previously.

Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D.
President

March 10: Updated guidance for employees with recent travel

Dear Mount Community,

Thank you for your continued vigilance to keep the Mount community safe. Following up to the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation, please see the following updated guidance for employees.

It is critical that employees do not report to work while they are experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills or fatigue.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms AND you recently traveled internationally, please do the following:

  1. Self-report your trip to Kristin Hurley, Director of Human Resources at k.hurley@msmary.edu AND
  2. Ask your physician to complete a health care risk analysis or return to work eligibility form and provide to HR via the above email address (or delivering it to Mount HR/Bradley #220). Employees may also use the MD Live Tele-health Service (please see HR email communication from 03/09/20). Note: If you have already completed an assessment with the Mount Health Services team you should continue to follow their guidance. This new protocol is for any new self-reported cases. Mount Health Services will continue to focus on students and we are advising employees with any symptoms and recent travel to impacted areas to go to their health care professional prior to return to work (e.g. as opposed to visiting Mount Health Services).

Also, please keep in mind the following continued guidance:

Department of Human Resources

March 9: Sickness Policy & Tele-health Services Reminder for University Employees

Dear Mount Community,

As we strive to maintain good health practices in the face of concerns about coronavirus, please see the reminders below about workplace practices and services.

Please continue to practice every day preventative health behaviors. This includes, covering coughs, washing hands often and staying home when sick. It is critical that employees do not report to work while they are experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills or fatigue.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that employees remain at home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100 degrees F or 37.8 degrees C) or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. Many times, with the best of intentions, employees report to work even though they feel ill. The Mount provides paid sick time for full time employees to compensate employees who are unable to work due to illness. Employees who report to work ill will be sent home in accordance with these health guidelines.

Just a reminder that the MDLive on-demand tele-health care service is available to employees. Details are below:

  • This service offers 24/7/365 on-demand access to health care professionals using your phone, tablet or computer.
  • Avoid the inconvenience and high costs of going to the emergency room or urgent care center.
  • Prescriptions can be sent directly to your local pharmacy if medically necessary.
  • The service can be accessed by employees who are currently enrolled in the Mount’s health insurance plan (and any enrolled dependents) for a cost of $8.20/consultation. Anyone who hasn’t elected the Mount’s health plan should check with their health care provider on any telehealth services or visit: MDLive
  • Register now! Be ready whenever you or a family member need quick, convenient access to quality medical care.
  • Download the MDLive .pdf for additional information.

Please contact Mount Health Services, your health care professional or the Human Resources department with any follow-up questions.

Department of Human Resources
Mount St. Mary's University

March 6: Updated - University Response to COVID-19

Dear Mount Community:

As promised, I will be providing email updates about the coronavirus as warranted. Last night Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in Maryland after three cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Montgomery County, located just outside of Washington, DC. The governor took this action to speed delivery of funding and other resources so the state can proactively prepare for and mitigate spread of the virus.

In his news conference, Governor Hogan encouraged people to stay informed but not to panic, saying “While today’s news may seem overwhelming, this is not a reason to panic. Marylanders should go to school and work, just as they normally do.”

The three Marylanders who contracted the virus are a husband and wife in their 70s and a woman in her 50s, all of whom arrived back in the United States February 20 from the same international trip. They are in good condition and are quarantined.

As spring break comes to an end, I also remind students and employees who have recently or are currently traveling internationally to report immediately upon return Monday morning, March 9, to the Student Health Center on the 1st floor of McGowan Hall to do a risk assessment with our health care team. We need to protect the health and safety of our entire community. If you have traveled to China, Iran, Italy or South Korea (Level 3 travel health risk countries), you must self-quarantine for 14 days upon return to the United States and get checked by a health professional before returning to campus. Students who have traveled to these countries as well as other international destinations must report their travel locations to Student Life at studentlife@msmary.edu. Faculty, staff and administrators should inform their supervisor of any recent international travel, along with Director of Human Resources Kristin Hurley at k.hurley@msmary.edu, while seminarians should report to Msgr. Andrew Baker.

For additional information, visit the COVID-19 Information page on our website. Thank you again for doing your part to help promote the health and safety of all members of our community.

Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D.
President

March 4: University Response to COVID-19

Dear Mount Community:

In response to an emerging and rapidly developing outbreak of a 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), Mount St. Mary’s University is taking proactive steps to protect the health and safety of our community. There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the Mount or in Maryland. However, we require your assistance in promoting the health and safety of our community and in reporting international travel to the University.

Travel Information and Guidance

Spring Break is in process, and a number of students and faculty are traveling. We are continuously monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and State Department guidance as well as maintaining communication with Frederick County and Maryland health officials regarding this rapidly evolving situation. Currently the CDC recommends avoidance of nonessential travel to China, Iran, Italy and South Korea (Level 3 travel health risk).

Because of the Level 3 risk in Italy assessed by CDC on February 28, the Mount suspended our study abroad program in Florence for the rest of the semester. Students will complete their semester online from home.

Any Mount community members who have recently or are currently traveling to countries with a Level 3 CDC travel health risk are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return to the United States and get checked by a health professional before returning to campus. Students who have traveled to these countries as well as other international destinations should report their travel locations to Student Life at studentlife@msmary.edu. Faculty, staff and administrators should inform their supervisor of any recent international travel, along with Director of Human Resources Kristin Hurley at k.hurley@msmary.edu, while seminarians should report to Msgr. Andrew Baker. If you have traveled internationally outside of the CDC-reported Level 3 countries, you should report to the Student Health Center on the 1st floor of McGowan Hall upon return to do a risk assessment with our health care team. We need to protect our entire community.

Mount students studying in Cuenca, Ecuador, this semester will remain abroad unless conditions change. We also have students on spring break trips to Spain, Florida and South Carolina. Regarding our athletic programs, we are continually evaluating all of our teams’ travel plans and destinations. As of now, no changes have been made to game schedules or travel plans. If any concerns arise regarding specific cities, counties or regions, we will adhere to state, local and CDC travel advisories in those areas, in addition to communication with the universities involved.

We ask that everyone limit travel over the coming weeks, particularly to areas with widespread sustained or community transmission of COVID-19. Any university-related international travel must be approved by the provost or president until the threat of this virus has subsided.

Preventive Health Measures

As we seek to ensure the good health of our community, the CDC offers these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other flu-like illnesses:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60% to 95% alcohol. It is especially important to wash hands after going to the bathroom, before eating and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • Stay home when you are sick. If you have a cough, fever and difficulty breathing, visit a health care provider. We will continue to ask faculty to work with students who miss classes due to illness.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. The Mount’s custodian team is wiping down and disinfecting desks, work surfaces, bathrooms and public doorknobs and has installed hand sanitizers at various locations across campus.
  • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask. The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.

How to Keep Informed

To ensure that we keep the Mount community well informed about COVID-19, the University has launched a webpage related to COVID-19 that answers frequently asked questions and provides links to helpful resources. This page will be regularly updated. I also will be sending out additional email messages as warranted. In addition, I strongly advise you to sign-up for Mount Alerts, as any urgent or emergency communication from the University would come through this channel.

Thank you for doing your part to help promote the health and safety of all members of our community. Please join me in praying for a speedy containment of this virus and for the recovery of those afflicted.

Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D.
President

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