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Mount Safe Initiative

Mount Safe Policies for Fall 2022

The following policies are based on known information about the COVID-19 virus, the effectiveness of available vaccines and treatments and public health recommendations. These policies will be adjusted as needed as public health professionals learn more about the vaccines and update their recommendations. Policies are in effect as of August 1, 2022.

We will continue to follow our Mount Safe Guiding Principles as we enter the third academic year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • First and foremost is the health and safety of our community. Decisions will be informed by guidance from federal and state public health authorities.
  • We will emphasize student success as we fulfill our Mount mission.
  • We will be flexible in responding to the uncertainty caused by this pandemic.
  • We will treat our students and employees with respect, emphasizing empathy and compassion as they re-socialize physically into the Mount community.
  • We will steward our financial resources to ensure the university’s strength and stability for the long term.

This year is different from previous years, however, because of the availability of an effective treatment for COVID-19 (paxlovid), and a highly vaccinated population. Despite these promising signs, the number of COVID-related deaths continues to climb because many individuals, such as the elderly and immunocompromised, remain vulnerable to the disease. Therefore, the Mount will continue to follow CDC and Maryland Department of Health guidance that involves multiple layers of risk reduction strategies to promote the health and safety of our community. All employees and students are expected to adhere to these policies.

The health and safety of our students, seminarians, and employees is our main priority. If you have any questions about these policies or concerns about safety or COVID-19, we encourage you to promptly report those concerns to the vice president and dean of students (esses@msmary.edu), the rector (baker@msmary.edu) or the executive director of human resources (k.hurley@msmary.edu).

Monitoring the External and Internal Environment

The first layer of protection is careful monitoring of the external (Frederick County and Maryland) and internal environments so that we can anticipate outbreaks and respond accordingly.

  1. We will continue to monitor the following external metrics in Frederick County and Maryland:
    1. Community Transmission Rate
    2. Community Levels
    3. Number of active cases over the last 7 days
  2. Within the Mount we will continue to monitor the isolation beds available and the number of active cases.

The levels of the external and internal factors will inform the choice of the Mount Health Alert Levels (0-3) which, in turn, inform the policies that will be enacted.

Layers of Risk Mitigation

Using multiple layers of risk mitigation strategies has proven to be effective at the Mount for reducing the transmission and containing outbreaks when they do occur. In the Fall 2022 semester, the key risk mitigation measures will be:

  • Offer and promote COVID-19 vaccination and boosters
  • Testing of symptomatic individuals as warranted
  • Testing of athletes as required by NCAA protocols
  • Isolation and quarantine protocols in concert with contact tracing
  • Staying home when sick and getting tested
  • Cleaning and disinfection
  • Handwashing and respiratory etiquette

Vaccine Policy

All students and seminarians taking any class on the main campus (Emmitsburg) are required to be fully vaccinated except for those with an approved exemption. For more information please view our Vaccine Policies.

Masks

Masks are not required. However, students should bring a supply of masks with them when returning to campus in August 2022 in the event that mask wearing is reinstated. Anyone who would like to wear a mask may continue to do so, is fully supported in their decision and should be treated with respect. 

Isolation and Contact Tracing

The Mount has procedures in place to isolate anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and to perform contact tracing.

 

Last updated August 1, 2022.