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COVID-19 Student Community Care Agreement

Overview

As the Mount St. Mary’s University community reconvenes on campus for the fall semester, the health and safety of all students, seminarians, faculty, and staff is of paramount importance. The COVID-19 virus is a significant health challenge, and it is impossible to know who will develop significant and life-threatening symptoms and who will not. All of us need to work together to keep ourselves and the entire community safe..

We know how excited our upperclass students are to be back on campus, and many of our first-year students expressed at summer orientation their excitement to begin their college career at the Mount. We share in that excitement. We also know how much you value being part of this special community, and how seriously you and everyone here takes their responsibilities to each other.

As a Catholic university, we are called to inspire students to discover their gifts and callings, to embrace learning, to play an active role in the community, and to lead lives of significance in service to God and others. Being part of the Mount community allows the opportunity to support, and be supported by, one another. This pandemic has further elevated that commitment, and need for ongoing grace, compassion and care. This year, our commitment to one another is particularly important. Our actions can help prevent a friend, a faculty member, or another member of the community from exposure to the virus. Individual behavior and choices play a significant role in slowing and stopping the spread of COVID-19. Physical distancing, use of face coverings and good hygiene are critical to the resumption of in-person instruction and the completion of a successful fall semester.

If we do not follow the rules outlined below, the transmission of the disease to another person is far more likely. Additionally, if we do not follow the rules, it will make it more likely that the University may be forced to return to the remote learning experience that defined the end of the last academic year. We cannot emphasize enough that it is within our collective power to make this semester work! If we pull together and if we all play our part, we can have a safe and healthy fall and spring semester together.

In order to have a successful fall semester, ALL students must agree to follow a set of expectations to minimize the spread of COVID-19. These standards were recommended by medical and public health professionals and meet or exceed federal and state guidelines. All students who plan to come to campus for instruction must commit to the expectations below. Please review these agreements and the rationale for them often, and with any of your friends, teammates or student organization associates, before signing. Make sure you and your circle are fully aware of these agreements.

Personal Care

  • I agree to sanitize my hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer thoroughly and frequently throughout the day.
  • I agree to maintain a physical distance of six feet from other people in communal spaces on campus.
  • I will wear a face covering that covers my nose and mouth when on campus, except when in my residence hall room with assigned roommates, in residence hall bathrooms when engaged in personal hygiene, when exercising outdoors or when eating. In University-operated residential apartments, suite-style spaces, cottages and houses, face coverings are not required in common living areas or bathrooms.
  • I agree that I will monitor myself daily for symptoms of COVID-19, including temperature.
  • I agree to contact the Health Center if I have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • I will honestly answer the questions on the daily health survey, and I will follow all instructions on the form.
  • If I am not feeling well, I will not attend class and will contact the Health Center immediately.
  • I agree to be tested for COVID-19 upon my return to campus.
  • I understand the Mount will engage in ongoing testing throughout the semester in order to reduce the spread of the virus. The testing will include students who are symptomatic, students from higher risk groups and some students selected at random. I understand I may be contacted for testing at any time and I agree to be tested by the Health Center upon request.
  • I agree to clean my room regularly and disinfect surfaces that may carry the virus, such as desk surfaces, light switches and doorknobs. This agreement also applies to surfaces in common spaces, bathrooms and kitchens.
  • I agree to obtain a seasonal flu shot from a provider at home or at no cost from the Health Center when they become available in the fall.
  • I agree to restrict my travel to essential trips only. To mitigate any spread of the virus, the Mount strongly discourages students from traveling beyond the immediate Emmitsburg area. Exceptions include travel for healthcare, employment, and emergency situations.

Quarantine, Isolation and Contact Tracing

  • Contact tracing is a vital technique to detect and isolate COVID-19 cases. It is the identification of people who may have been exposed to the virus. It is critical that students respond accurately to any questions asked regarding potential contacts to contain the virus on campus. Understanding the importance of contact tracing, I agree to respond quickly and accurately to any contact tracing requests that I receive in order to protect the health and safety of other community members.
  • Quarantine and isolation are important mitigation efforts that can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Both terms refer to separating someone from the rest of the community for a time because that person may have been infected with the virus (quarantine) or has symptoms of COVID-19 and/or has a positive COVID-19 test (isolation).
  • I agree to isolate if I test positive or have symptoms for COVID-19, as instructed by the Health Center until released by the Health Center.
  • I agree to quarantine as instructed if I am identified as a contact of anyone who has been determined to be positive for COVID-19.
  • I agree to quarantine if I have been tested for COVID-19 and am awaiting results of that test.
  • If possible, I agree to self-quarantine at home for a period of 14 days prior to my scheduled return to campus.

Social Events

  • I agree I will not host off-campus guests, including students studying remotely, in my residence or on campus. Residential students may visit each other, with a maximum occupancy of four in a standard room at any time.
  • I understand that, across the country, social gatherings at bars and parties, especially indoors, have been a major contributor to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. With this in mind, I agree not to attend or host social events that violate room occupancy limitations or any social event where six-foot distancing cannot be maintained, either on campus or off campus.

Evolving Conditions

Recognizing that the COVID-19 situation evolves rapidly, the Mount may have to adjust guidelines quickly. Updates will be emailed directly to all students if there is a significant change in protocols.

Violation of the COVID-19 Student Health Agreement

Compliance with these expectations is non-negotiable. Students who have concerns about adhering to the expectations should not plan to live or attend classes on campus for the fall.

  • I understand that as a consequence of failing to uphold these standards, I may be subject to disciplinary procedures, including being asked to leave campus immediately. I understand I cannot be guaranteed the opportunity to complete my courses remotely.
  • I understand that students who host a social event in violation of these principles are subject to immediate removal and restriction from campus.
  • Social events hosted at off-campus locations will be considered the joint responsibility of each student living at that address. If a student living off campus does not wish to share that responsibility, the student should contact the Office of Residence Life for a housing reassignment on campus.
  • Student organizations or groups that do not follow the social events provisions may be suspended from the campus community.

Pledge of Commitment to COVID-19 Student Community Care Agreement

  • I agree to the expectations outlined in the COVID-19 Student Community Care Agreement in support of in-person classes at Mount St. Mary’s University for the Fall 2020 semester.
  • I understand my decisions and behaviors potentially impact the health and safety of all members of the community, including my fellow students, employees of the Mount and my own well-being.
  • I understand I may be asked to leave the campus and may face disciplinary consequences if it is determined I did not uphold the expectations outlined above.
  • I have carefully reviewed these agreements.

Information on submitting the agreement will be available by August 4.