February 4, 2022

Great News about COVID Guidance for the Spring Semester

Dear Fellow Gophers,

We’ve all been a bit apprehensive these past few weeks given the wild surges in COVID-19 positivity rates and case counts we saw in January and not knowing what to expect as we welcomed everyone back to campus this first week of February.

Well, I’m happy to report that by working together, we made it happen!

As we wrap up the first week of the spring semester, in addition to seeing rapidly declining positivity rates at both the state and county level, we’ve also seen very few new COVID-19 cases on campus. What’s more, with our students, faculty, and staff nearly 100% vaccinated and widely adopting the new N-95, KN95 and KF94 mask protocols, we feel extremely confident that we can proceed as planned with 100% in-person instruction and a full residential campus experience this semester.

To that end, effective Monday, February 7th we will be changing our COVID alert level status from Yellow to Green, and with this change will remove many of the restrictions we’ve had in place for the past two months. These include:

First, starting this coming Monday, February 7th, faculty members may elect to teach their classes either in-person or online for one additional week. Then, effective Monday, February 14th all classes will be delivered in-person for the remainder of the semester with only a very few exceptions where the faculty member has already secured permission from the Provost’s Office for their classes to remain online for the semester due to extenuating circumstances.

Second, effective Monday, we will be allowing Goucher Community spectators (e.g., faculty, staff, and students) to attend all Goucher athletic events, indoors and out. For now, we will continue our policy of not allowing off-campus spectators (e.g., parents, friends, etc.) on campus. However, the Landmark Conference presidents and athletic directors are scheduled to meet on February 9th to discuss updated COVID protocols. This includes possibly allowing off-campus spectators at some and potentially all Landmark Conference athletic events starting February 12th so please stay tuned for further updates. 

Third, starting next week, we will allow general Goucher community use of Decker Sports & Recreation Center, and no longer restrict access to only in-season student athletes. Due to staffing, hours may be limited at first, but will expand as the semester progresses.

Fourth, we will be permitting off-campus guests, prospective students, and their families to visit campus once again. As always, off-campus guests should be vaccinated and must adhere to all Goucher College COVID protocols. This includes wearing proper face masks upon entering a building. For a variety of reasons, we will continue our policy of not permitting off-campus guests to enter the residence halls with one exception: admissions-led campus tours following pre-approved routes.

Finally, effective Monday, we will also be lifting all restrictions on all college-sponsored travel outside of the Baltimore/DC metro area.

I want to reinforce that students who have approved exemptions or those who aren’t up to date on their vaccine (i.e., have yet to obtain their booster shot) should continue to test before returning to campus. For these students who still need to pre-test before returning to campus, you may attend your classes before you have received your results, but you should avoid eating in the dining hall until you have a confirmed negative PCR test.

I also want to reiterate that for students to avoid having holds placed on your account you must be fully vaccinated. That means either the recommended dose of the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines plus a booster. We still have a percentage of our students who have not yet obtained their booster shot or failed to turn in proof of same to the Student Health & Wellness Center. Please do so now.

We are offering free vaccine boosters on campus in the Rosenberg Gallery until 3 pm today, Friday, February 4th. I urge those of you who can to take advantage of this opportunity.

I would also like to remind everyone that we will continue to require N95, KN95, or KF94 masks be worn whenever entering any buildings on campus. The College has KN95 masks available for distribution at no cost to our community members at the Dorsey Center Post Office, Mary Fisher Dining, the Office of Residential Life, and elsewhere across campus. 

We have also updated on our website the criteria and commensurate restrictions associated with each COVID alert level. We’ll also be updating our COVID FAQs pages with new information as it becomes available. Meanwhile, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the COVID Task Force at: COVIDTaskForce@goucher.edu. 

I want to extend a big thank you to everyone for helping us achieve this important milestone that has allowed us to transition safely back to in-person learning. I wish you all a most enjoyable spring semester.

See you on campus!


Kent Devereaux