This week, Marymount University released its detailed plans to fully resume on-campus operations and welcome back students in August with face-to-face classes and residential living.
Employees will begin the transition back to on-site work on Monday, June 22, in preparation for the return of students and fall semester classes, which are scheduled to start on Monday, August 24. Marymount plans to end all in-person course activities by Thanksgiving break, and move all remaining course requirements and exams to a remote delivery.
The University previously announced its intentions in May to reopen campus in the fall, with a commitment to following guidance from state and federal health agencies and government officials to best protect the health and safety of all students and employees.
Marymounts plan, Saints Reunite, was developed by the Universitys Return to Campus Task Force and is awaiting approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). Its content was informed by guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Forward Virginia Reopening Blueprint, Arlington County Public Health Division (ACPHD), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other governing bodies and professional organizations.
The plan focuses on five key areas reopening safely and sustainably, repopulating campus, monitoring health conditions, containing the possible spread of COVID-19 and following contingency plans in the event of a potential dismissal or shutdown order. Summaries of these areas of the plan are listed below.
- The University will be consistent with all state phasing requirements, and new guidance from the CDC and Forward Virginia Reopening Blueprint will be continuously taken into consideration to potentially modify these plans.
- Student Return and Departure. Residential students will have a staggered move-in/move-out process to allow for adequate social distancing. Before arrival, students will be educated on the new Safe Saint initiative, which highlights the importance of social distancing, hand hygiene and mask wearing.
- Student Training. The New Student Orientation will brief families on healthy campus guidelines, while all students will receive short videos with instructions on health-preserving strategies and responding to sickness.
- Physical Distancing. Marymount will offer four distinct modes of instruction:
- face-to-face delivery with more space between students and an increased number of class sections
- hybrid delivery that combines in-person and online instruction
- remote delivery that allows students to participate from a distance simultaneously
- online delivery that allows participation from a distance at their convenience
- Outside of the classroom, physical distancing plans include the following:
- remote participation options for all on-site co-curricular programming
- occupancy limits in study rooms, lounges and residential laundry spaces
- a new visitor tracking process
- partitions added to open service areas
- extended hours in the main dining area with reduced density in seating areas; continued suspension of buffet-style functions, with all food packed to go; enhanced cleaning of all dining spaces between meal periods
- Hygiene and cleaning. Enhanced and frequent cleaning of highly-touched surfaces across campus, as well as expansion of available PPE, hand sanitizer dispensers, wipes, cleaning products and hand soap.
- Student Housing. All traditional-style residential rooms will be converted to single spaces with assigned shower stalls, sinks and toilets, with bathrooms cleaned hourly during peak usage times. Face coverings will be required in common areas and when answering the door. Occupancy limits will be used for common areas, and no guests will be allowed in private spaces. In apartments and junior suites, bathrooms will be cleaned weekly at a minimum, with cleaning supplies and instructions provided to residents for day-to-day upkeep.
- Protection of High-Risk Individuals. The Office of Student Accessibility and the Office of Human Resources will respond to requests for accommodation by students and employees, respectively. Options for these employees include remote work, alternating schedules and staggered reporting/departing. Caregivers are identified as a high-risk population per the Universitys protocol.
- International Students. Students arriving from abroad will be required to quarantine for 14 days, per American College Health Association (ACHA) and CDC guidelines. All study abroad programs have been suspended until further guidance that they are safe to continue.
- Student-Athletes. Marymount will take a phased approach to reintroducing student-athletes to their sports, which includes a required medical examination and screening before athletic participation.
- Face Coverings. Masks or protective face coverings must be worn on campus, with appropriate accommodations made for those unable to wear a mask. Masks will be available at multiple locations. A new Mask Ambassador program will inspire community accountability in relation to the mask policy.
- Student Health Services (SHS). SHS will operate with medical-grade PPE, and will continue to provide a full range of services while collaborating with mental health counselors in Student Counseling Services (SCS). Their shared waiting area has been redesigned to allow for social distancing, with virtual appointments remaining available and in some instances required to maintain health and safety for all.
- Large Events. Marymount will comply with state guidance on gatherings, and any event will be registered through event management software to monitor for safety.
- Education and Training. Training will be provided on social distancing and masks, the Mask Ambassador program, temperature taking and symptom awareness, hand hygiene, contact tracing cooperation, cough/sneeze etiquette, general health, disinfecting of spaces, enhanced precautions around high-risk populations and CDC guidelines for quarantine and self-isolation. Additional training on topics such as safe business resumption and anti-stigma education will also be provided.
- Health Screening and Monitoring. Routine temperature checks and self-evaluations will be encouraged each day. Software and technology applications that can advance the screening process will be explored as well.
- Disease Surveillance. SHS will monitor positive cases, virus spread and quarantine/isolation efforts.
- Testing. Currently, campus-wide testing is not recommended by the Virginia Dept. of Health for those arriving or departing from campus. If someone feels symptomatic or has been exposed, they will be evaluated virtually and testing will be used if appropriate.
- Contact Tracing. Marymount currently conducts manual conduct tracing for students, staff and faculty following a diagnosis. Steps to mitigate the spread are taken for students, a SHS case manager is in daily contact to monitor symptoms, while employees are referred to their primary care physician. Opportunities to utilize technology to enhance contacting tracing are being explored.
- Quarantining and Isolating. Quarantine will be used for those exposed to the disease, while isolation will be used for those with symptoms. Marymount is reserving five percent of its residential rooms with private bathrooms for quarantine/isolation use by students. Contingency plans are also in place with local hotels.
- If circumstances overwhelm campus or county resources, a government order may require Marymount to temporarily halt on-campus operations.
- Considerations will be given to the safest approach for addressing the needs of the residential student population, and will depend on the nature of the conditions and advice of the ACPHD.
The complete Saints Reunite plan can be found here. Marymounts COVID-19 Information and Return to Campus Update pages will also continue to be updated with relevant information.