January 27, 2022

The Latest COVID Guidance for Spring Semester

Dear Fellow Gophers,

As spring move-in day approaches and the start of the semester is right around the corner, I wanted to apprise everyone of additional updates to our Spring Return to Campus Plan that have been reviewed and approved by our COVID Task Force. The Task Force continues to meet weekly, assess current conditions, and discuss the latest COVID guidelines from the CDC and the American College Health Association (ACHA) to ensure that we are keeping our community safe. I am highly encouraged by the decrease in Baltimore County’s positivity rate from about 33% two weeks ago to a little more than 10% today as well as the continued decreasing case counts every day. This is certainly a promising trend.

This week I have two important updates for everyone:

First, to better manage potential risks to our community, we are restricting all college-sponsored travel outside of the Baltimore/DC metro area for faculty, staff, and students through February 14th. The COVID Task Force will reevaluate travel policies prior to February 14, and we expect to lessen or eliminate travel restrictions as the semester progresses.

Meanwhile, except for all Landmark Conference athletic competition travel, should you need to travel on college-sponsored business between now and February 14th, you must obtain prior, explicit permission from the Office of Vice President & Dean of Students (students), the Office of the Provost (faculty) or the relevant vice president of your division (staff). We also encourage everyone to restrict their personal travel outside of the Baltimore/DC metro area as much as possible through February 14th, and if you do need to travel, please be sure to have a backup plan in the event you become sick while traveling.

Second, some students (and parents) have asked whether we expect to continue our “no spectators” policy for all Landmark Conference athletic events through the spring semester. The answer is “No.”

Currently, we are not allowing any spectators on campus. However, the Landmark Conference presidents and athletic directors will be meeting on February 9th to discuss updated COVID protocols for all winter and spring sports. This includes possibly allowing spectators at some and potentially all Landmark Conference athletic events after February 14th starting first with our on-campus community. Please stay tuned for further updates.

As we welcome students back to campus this weekend, I would also like to remind everyone that we now require N95, KN95, or KF94 masks to be worn 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 procured 15,000 masks to have on hand for the start of the semester and so everyone in our community has access to protection. We will continue to monitor the situation and secure additional masks as needed as the semester progresses.

Also, please remember that while wearing these KN95 masks does add an increased level of protection against transmission of the virus, continuing to practice physical distancing is essential in keeping our campus safe. We want everyone to enjoy the campus this spring semester but to do so we need to avoid congregating in enclosed spaces as much as possible, especially during the first two weeks of the semester.

Finally, expect one more email from me next week. We’ll be updating our criteria and the commensurate restrictions associated with each COVID alert level on our website. We’ll also be updating our COVID FAQs pages with new information. Meanwhile, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the COVID Task Force at: COVIDTaskForce@goucher.edu.

I look forward to seeing everyone on campus soon, starting with move-in day this Saturday and as we gradually transition back to an in-person residential college over these next two weeks. I am confident that as long as everyone adheres to our COVID protocols, we can all look forward to a successful spring semester. Working together, we can make this happen!


Kent Devereaux