June 22, 2020

Return to Campus - Frequently Asked Questions

Dear Goucher community,

You have received a number of updates over the past month regarding our return to campus this fall. While we’ve made every effort to be as specific and concise as we can, we recognize that many members of our community still have questions. Please know that we are working hard to provide detailed, specific information to our community as often as we can, but that some aspects of our return are still being reviewed. As decisions are finalized, we will continue to send weekly emails and update the Return to Campus website.

To that end, we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions to help address your concerns. Below is a list of these questions. This list is also available on the Return to Campus website.


Q: How exactly will hybrid classes work? Is there a universal model that will be used, or does it depend on the professor?
A: The exact nature of each HyFlex/Dual mode class will depend upon the instructor and the course learning goals, as well as on how many students can come in person vs. those who must participate remotely. The latter will affect whether the in-person students can all be in the same classroom at one time with physical distancing, for example. What is universal about the model, though, is that students on campus are in the classroom whenever possible with appropriate physical distancing, while others who cannot come in person participate via the internet synchronously.

Q: In terms of grading, will Pass/No Pass be an option for classes?
A: Students may choose to take two courses per academic year on a pass/no pass basis.

Q: What is the plan for cleaning classrooms between classes?
A: Cleaning kits with disinfectant wipes and cleaning instructions will be distributed to each of the classrooms. Students and faculty will be asked to wipe down their individual work/seating stations before leaving the classroom. All classrooms will be cleaned by FMS staff prior to 7:30am each weekday.

Q: Will the Athenaeum be open? Will it be opened to Commuter students?
A: The Athenaeum will be open, though certain areas may be taken offline. We will be relocating the commuter lounge within the Athenaeum to a larger space on campus to ensure we can adequately address the needs of our commuter students and provide for appropriate physical distancing and daily cleaning of the facilities. Further decisions on the Athenaeum and other public spaces will be determined in the next few weeks.

Testing/Health Issues

Q: How frequently will students need to be tested on campus? Are we only requesting testing for students who show symptoms?
A: We will have a strategic plan for testing that will involve weekly campus-wide wastewater testing to monitor for increased presence of the virus on campus. Based on our population data, contact tracing, and symptoms, we will determine when and how often to test students on campus. Our initial plan calls for testing all students on four occasions, and then testing symptomatic students and contacts of positive cases on an as needed basis.

Q: Will students, staff, or faculty be required to pay for testing?
A: No.

Q: Are faculty and staff going to be tested before they return to campus?
A:  Our plan calls for faculty/staff who will be physically on campus to be tested. A detailed plan outlining faculty/staff testing will be shared in the coming weeks. Concerns about privacy will be addressed in these plans.

Q: What supplies pertaining to COVID-19 or quarantine should students bring with them? i.e.: number of masks, thermometers, medical supplies?
A: We will be providing some of the supplies that may be difficult to find (thermometers) but will distribute a list of other items that may be useful. Please plan to bring 3-5 masks to campus. We encourage students to begin trying out various styles of masks now and wearing them for the length of time they anticipate they'd be in class to get a sense of preferred style and fit.

Q: What will the procedures be for students who need to be quarantined?
A: We will need to have the ability to support quarantined and isolated students this fall. We are currently working on specific procedures that will reflect best practices, and that can be scaled up and adapted quickly to meet any need that arises for quarantine or isolation.

Q: Do we have a backup plan if there is a rise in cases? Which guidelines will we follow if there is another national or statewide call for closure and shelter in place?
A: We will be seeking input from our state and local health department on what number of cases would constitute what level of restrictive action (up to and including closure of the campus). While we await that input, we are working on developing a system to communicate risk, in real time, that is reflective of the data we are receiving from our wastewater and RT-PCR testing.

Q: How can I best equip myself to support my ongoing mental health once I return to campus?
A: Recent events have created an excessive load of stress and emotional strain for much of the country with disparate impact on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. While Goucher strives to create a positive living and learning community this fall, things will definitely look and feel different. There are some skills that may help navigate the changes and ongoing stress and strain of the fall semester:

  • Willingness to reach out and seek support from various sources when needed
  • Tolerance for change to the environment
  • Creative problem-solving and flexibility
  • Initiative to maintain social connections
  • Tolerance to spending time alone
  • Adaptive self-care plan that supports emotional and physical wellness

Over the summer, we encourage student to take advantage of the EverFi training module on Mental Well-Being for Students shared with students via email in Spring 2020.

Another timely resources to bolster your emotional wellness is a free course offered by the American Red Cross – Psychological First Aid: Supporting Yourself and Others During COVID-19

Q: What is the plan to support students’ emotional health and wellbeing?
A: We understand that emotional health and wellbeing are central to the ongoing academic success of our students. We will continue to leverage our JED Campus framework to ensure emotional wellness needs of our students are addressed and integrated throughout the college experience this fall. To this end, faculty, staff, and student leaders are trained in early warning signs, effective conversations, and access to resources to support students experiencing a strain to their emotional wellness. Creative programming and outreach efforts will continue through various student-facing offices including Student Engagement, Wellness, and the Student Counseling Center. The Student Counseling Center will continue providing mental health services via teletherapy to students.


The following answers reflect the current plan for Athletics, which is subject to change, based on local and state guidelines and risk levels associated with COVID-19

Q: Will athletes be required to wear face coverings during practice and matches?
A: No. Initially athletes will be required to remain physically distant at all times. As restrictions are lifted, contact practices and competitions may resume without face coverings.

Q: How will the college handle visiting teams? Will they be required to be masked?
A: Visitors will be required to be screened by their own Sports Medicine staffs prior to traveling to Goucher. Upon arrival, masks will be required until visitors begin their warm-ups and competitions.

Q: Will the athletes be required to be tested more frequently?
A: Student-athletes will be subject to daily temperature checks and symptom tracking prior to participating in any Athletics activities.

Q: Will students who are exercising be required to wear a face covering?
A: This policy has not been finalized yet. We would ask that all members of our community exercise responsibly, alone, or in socially distant groups.

Q: Will students be able to attend athletic events? If so, what measures will be taken? Will we need to reserve tickets in advance?
A: We have not determined a policy for spectators at this point.

Student Affairs/Residence Life

Q: What kinds of visitors can come to campus? Will there be campus visitors from programs that increase retention and wellbeing?
A: There will be a limit on the number of visitors who can come to campus. We will continue to allow deliveries (i.e. food deliveries, Uber, Lyft), but there will be designated locations for students to pick up their food or meet a driver. There will be a process by which exceptions can be requested. Specifically, we’ll be considering visitors who help support the student experience and can abide by our guidelines. To the extent that we can do so (within our guidelines), we’ll continue to host events to help support student wellbeing, which may include a limited number of outside visitors.

Q: How freely will students living on campus be able to leave campus? (ex: for grocery shopping, etc.)
A: Students will be able to leave campus for grocery shopping, off-campus employment, community-based work, and other activities as needed. We are not restricting students’ ability to leave campus, but we will be providing recommendations on how students can do so in the safest way possible so that students can make a well-informed decision about what they choose to do.

Q: When is the last day for students to change their non-binding decision regarding their plan for the fall semester?
A: Ideally, students would update their decision as soon as possible but the final deadline would be Friday, July 31, 2020

Q: Will prepackaged meals be in place for the entire semester?
A: We will be making decisions about dining in accordance with our progress on campus. Although we will start in a more restrictive model, if the results of our testing seem positive, we may lighten these restrictions. However, if our numbers start to look worse, we may have to reinstate restrictions.

Q: What will the prepacked meal options look like?
A: Our prepared meals are designed to be quick, healthful, and satisfying. We use the same high-quality ingredients and techniques as we do at our full-service stations and exercise the same attention to detail. Meal options will be made fresh daily and will be posted online at goucher.cafebonappetit.com. A variety of prepared salads and sandwiches will be available every day as well as featured hot specials and sides at every meal period. We will also still continue to offer kosher, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. Our dining team associates will package the featured hot specials as you request it. Allergen concerns are always taken in consideration with every menu. If you have any questions regarding your allergen needs, feel free to contact the Bon Appétit General Manager David Friendlich at david.friendlich@cafebonappetit.com

Q: Will items from the Student Market still be available for purchase? Will Dining Dollars still be a part of the meal plan?
A: When the Student Market is able to open, we will offer freshly prepared to-go specials, packaged convenience items, bottled beverages, and coffee service. We are adjusting our hot menu items and that information will be updated on goucher.cafebonappetit.com as we prepare to open. Dining Dollars are still part of the meal plan and all campus dining locations will accept Dining Dollars, Gopher Bucks, and credit cards.

Q: Will emotional support animals still be an option for students? Is anything changing in terms of the process of requesting an ESA?
A: The process for requesting an accommodation of an ESA has not changed. Students should continue to follow the process outlined on the Office of Accessibility Services website. It is important that students who bring an ESA to campus have an emergency plan in place to care for the animal, in the event they need to be quarantined, isolated or hospitalized due to the virus.

Q: How will our new COVID restrictions be enforced?
A: Our number one goal is to try to keep all members of the Goucher community as safe as possible. Therefore, every member of the community has a responsibility to follow these guidelines – not just to minimize their own risk, but to care for others in our community who may be at even greater risk. We know there will be a learning curve and are planning for this as we think through the beginning of the semester. We also will be doing a lot of education to help make certain all community members understand not only what the guidelines are, but why they are in place. So, although there are consequences if individuals repeatedly and blatantly violate the rules, our hope is that that majority of the community will understand that we are working towards a common, collective good.

Q: How frequently will residence hall bathrooms/common spaces be cleaned? What will be expected of students in this regard?
A: Details of this are still being worked out with FMS. As it stands, residence hall bathrooms will be cleaned daily by FMS and students will be expected to spray down bathrooms before and after using them.

Financial Aid/Registrar

Q: Will scholarships/financial aid be impacted by the decision to telecommute?
A: Potentially, yes. Merit scholarships will not be impacted but need-based aid might be impacted because your costs would be less if you stay home/live off-campus versus being in the residence halls.

Q: Will scholarships/financial aid be impacted by the decision to take a leave of absence?
A: No, If a student takes a leave of absence for fall, for example, their same awards would still be available for spring. However, were a student to take a leave of absence for a year, they would need to file a FAFSA (if applicable) for the following year which might impact their aid award. Merit aid would stay intact the following year.

Q: Is the leave of absence deadline changing?
A: Ideally, students would file for a leave of absence as soon as they decide that they do not wish to return to campus this fall but the final deadline would be Friday, August 21, 2020.

As always, please reach out to us with other questions or concerns. We will continue to update the website and send weekly emails to keep everyone informed about our return to campus.

Be well.