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Mount Safe Initiative

Mount Safe Policies for Fall 2021

Effective August 4, 2021

Although COVID-19 cases declined during the early summer, the Delta variant is causing a resurgence in cases nationwide. In response, the CDC recently updated its guidance on masks to recommend use of masks indoors in areas with substantial or high community transmission rates. Although the community transmission rates in Maryland and Frederick County are currently moderate, the number of cases and positivity rates are trending upward in the region.

The following policies are based on known information about the COVID-19 virus, the effectiveness of the vaccines available now and public health recommendations. These policies will be adjusted as needed, at the university’s discretion, based upon changes to public health guidance and conditions on campus or in the surrounding region.

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 dean of students (esses@msmary.edu), the rector (baker@msmary.edu) or the director of human resources (k.hurley@msmary.edu).

Mitigating the Risk

In order to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 during the 2021-22 academic year, the Mount is instituting several prevention strategies. Given that students and seminarians are returning to campus from many states and locations around the world with varying levels of COVID cases, and there are rising case rates in Frederick County and Maryland, we are mandating that everyone must wear a face mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status, effective immediately. This policy will be reviewed periodically based on our Mount community COVID case rates and available public health information. Specifically, the policy is:

Risk Reduction Measures

Universal Indoor Mask Requirement - All students, seminarians, employees and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear masks while indoors with the following exceptions:

  • In your own residence hall room
  • While eating and drinking
  • Alone in a room, such as an office or meeting room
  • During vigorous exercise

Surveillance Testing – We will conduct regular COVID-19 surveillance testing of students, seminarians and employees who are not fully vaccinated. Students and seminarians who are not fully vaccinated will be tested upon their arrival to campus at the beginning of the term.

Handwashing and Transmission Etiquette – All individuals should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer frequently. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw used tissues in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.

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