January 20, 2022

Additional COVID Guidance for this Spring Semester

Dear fellow Gophers,

As promised, I am writing to apprise you of the latest policy updates that have been agreed upon by the COVID Task Force. We continue to meet weekly to review the latest CDC, ACHA, NCAA, State of Maryland, and Baltimore County guidance to arrive at recommendations appropriate for Goucher.

This week, I have five updates:

First, beginning January 24th we will require all faculty, staff, and students to use N-95, KN95, or KF94 face masks instead of the cloth masks that have been mandated until now. The science is very clear; if we want to inhibit the spread of the Omicron variant, we need to use these higher quality, more effective masks. In light of this development, we have procured a large quantity of KN95 masks that will be available for distribution at no cost to our community members at the Student Health Center, the Dorsey Center Post Office, Mary Fisher Dining, and elsewhere across campus. We would also encourage you to purchase additional masks, as needed, for your own use. 

Second, we will require all commuter students to show proof of a negative PCR test 72 hours prior to the return of in-person classes on February 14. Students who are unable to secure a PCR test can also arrange to be tested in person at our Student Health Center on February 10.

Third, since we know that reducing the density on campus is one of several effective strategies for reducing the transmission of the virus, we are asking all staff and faculty who can productively do so to continue to work from home through the first two weeks of the semester. Each vice president will determine on-campus staffing levels appropriate for their division and provide further guidelines as we transition safely back to a fully in-person learning environment this semester; when in doubt, employees should check with their immediate supervisor to seek further guidance if they have questions.

Fourth, as a convenience, we will be making 400 at-home antigen tests available to our employees at no cost. Expect to receive additional information from Human Resources about how employees can pick up their at-home test kits on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Finally, we will continue with our current protocols on surveillance testing and masking for all in-season student-athletes through the first two weeks of the semester. This includes not allowing spectators at any athletic events for the time being. We will continue to monitor the prevalence of COVID on campus and in the surrounding community and plan to permit spectators at athletic events as soon as we determine it is safe to do so. 

As I stated in my previous emails, we remain committed to taking proactive measures to ensure an on-campus, in-person learning experience for our undergraduate students. If everyone upholds their personal responsibilities, I feel confident we can all look forward to a successful semester on our beautiful campus this spring. 

Meanwhile, be well.


Kent Devereaux