August 25, 2022

Temporary Absences Procedure

Dear Goucher Gophers,

At Goucher College, we are trying to minimize as much as possible any potential risk for community spread of COVID-19 on campus during the first two weeks of classes, with everyone returning to campus.

To this effect, President Devereaux announced on July 25th that from August 6 to September 16, 2022, we require all faculty, staff, and students to use N-95, KN95, or KF94 face masks indoors.

Having said this, faculty may unmask in a sufficiently large classroom with some distance between instructor and students. Alternatively, if faculty are teaching in a small room, they may look for opportunities for their class to meet outdoors for discussions whenever possible while the weather is nice. Meanwhile, students sitting side-by-side in a classroom, in close proximity to one another, should remain masked.

If we see no increase in the virus concentration in the wastewater on campus and no significant increase in active cases, then we’ll quickly move to a mask-optional policy. However, at this time we should all remain vigilant and continue to mask indoors whenever possible.

Inevitably some individuals will become sick or test positive for either COVID-19 or Monkeypox this fall. Therefore, the process for requesting a temporary absence from class due to testing positive for COVID-19 or Monkeypox is as follows:

  1. If a student experiences any symptoms, they should consult the Student Health Center (SHC).
  2. If a student tests positive, they should immediately use the reporting form.
  3. The SHC will follow up with the student and tell the associate provost for undergraduate studies the dates the student will be absent.
  4. When the associate provost for undergraduate studies receives notification from SHC, she will inform the student´s faculty and advisor with an email that says something like the following: [name of student] will not be able to attend your [xxx] class until [date]. [name of student] will get in touch with you in a timely manner to inquire about how to keep up with classwork. The subject of the email will be the name of the student.
  5. All faculty members have attendance policies in place that should be enforced. Faculty members will work with each student who has been approved for a short-term health absence as indicated in the Quarantine and Isolation Policy to keep up with coursework through reasonable instructional adaptations. Faculty members will abide by APC guidelines for online instruction, which is that the default expectation in our residential campus is that classes are in-person. Students with an approved long-term health absence may petition the associate provost to drop/withdraw from a course after the deadline or may apply to the dean of students for a leave.

Welcome back to campus. We hope you have a very successful fall semester. Take care and be well.

COVID-19 Taskforce