Goucher COVID-19 Response
Dear Goucher Community,
As the President of Goucher College, the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff is always my number one concern. With this in mind, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am communicating today a number of decisions we have made that we believe are grounded in Goucher’s community principles and in the best interest of public health.
Although we do NOT have any known cases of COVID-19 on campus, we are acting prudently to ensure for the welfare of our entire community.
We have been in communication with other colleges and universities in our region, the Maryland state departments of education and health, as well as other public health officials, and our actions are guided by what are emerging as best practice recommendations in response to this constantly evolving situation.
This is a long email message; I encourage you to read the entire communication below to gain a clear understanding of the actions we are announcing today.
Actions, effective immediately:
Transition to Online Instruction Only
Goucher College will transition to online-only instruction via Canvas for all graduate face-to-face interactions as of Saturday, March 14th and for all undergraduate classes as of March 23rd, the first day of regularly scheduled classes following Spring Break. Undergraduate students are asked not to return to campus after Spring Break and instead fulfill their academic requirements remotely. Students who need to remain on campus will also receive instruction remotely via Canvas and must prepare for severely limited on-campus activities and interactions.
We request that all students plan to return home at the start of Spring Break on Saturday, March 14, and to remain off-campus until Sunday, March 29, with the possibility that we may extend this mandatory hiatus from campus by an additional week should conditions warrant it. Residential students should leave campus and return to their permanent home, when possible, for the week of Spring Break and the following week, unless their home is located in an area currently known to have a high number of COVID-19 cases. Students should also consider traveling to a friend’s home for these two weeks if unable to return to their own home.
All residential students must register with the Office of Residential Life indicating their plans for the two weeks, regardless of whether they are leaving campus, or requesting permission to stay on campus. The deadline for registering is tomorrow (Thursday) at 11:59 p.m.
We understand that for a limited number of students, going to or staying at a location away from campus for two weeks is not possible, due to extreme circumstances. Students who believe they absolutely must remain on campus can request permission to do so through the registration process. Students who were previously approved by Residential Life to stay on campus for Spring Break must register again and require permission to remain for the full two-week period.
Residential students departing campus should take with them all essential items for at least two weeks, along with any necessary items essential to potentially carrying on their education remotely from home, including laptops, textbooks, notebooks, essential papers, etc. Students should also plan to carry home valuables and indispensable items (including medications and medical devices) in the event that a sustained period will pass before they can return to campus. Departing students should take emotional support animals with them, as the college cannot be responsible for the care of such animals during this period. Once students depart campus, access to campus will be restricted until at least March 29.
As previously planned, there will be no food provisions by Bon Appétit from March 14-22. A limited food service offering will be provided from March 22-29, for those students who are approved to remain on campus. There will be no SRC/gym access during these two weeks, except for in-season athletes.
Essential Staff Only
Effective Saturday, March 14 through Sunday, March 29, and potentially longer, we will be asking only staff and faculty members deemed essential to the ongoing operations of the College to be present on campus. Divisional Vice Presidents and supervisors will designate who is deemed essential and communicate this to their teams. All other individuals should make arrangements with their immediate supervisor to work remotely, if possible. Although we may be scaling back our on-campus activities, the College is NOT closed, and work will continue on multiple fronts. Information about the use of our liberal leave policy during this period will be forthcoming and posted online. Faculty or staff members who have questions about their specific situation should speak to their supervisor.
We will be canceling all on-campus events from Saturday, March 14 through Sunday, March 29, with the possibility that we may cancel additional on-campus events after March 29, should conditions warrant it. This includes all events organized by external organizations and rentals.
We will be ceasing all off-campus and community-based programs as of March 14. This will continue through March 29 and potentially extend through the end of the spring semester. This includes Community-Based Learning, internships, and the Futuro Latino Learning Center. Further details to follow.
Effective immediately, we will also discontinue student, faculty, and staff travel supported by the College through the end of the semester. We will also require any student, faculty, or staff member who has recently traveled abroad or to domestic hot spots (as designated by the CDC) to self-quarantine for 14 days before being allowed to return to campus.
In light of our decision to curtail all College-supported travel through the end of the semester, we will be working with our fellow members of the Landmark Conference to determine how best to handle scheduled athletic events. Further information will be forthcoming in the next day or two.
Intensive Courses Abroad (ICA)
We have decided to cancel the Intensive Courses Abroad (ICA) to both Japan and Israel. We will be evaluating all future summer and winter ICAs on a case-by-case basis as we have more information.
International Study Abroad
We do not have any students abroad in areas of concern. We are advising our students studying abroad to stay abroad and work with their study abroad program provider if and when circumstances change. Goucher is in active contact with all of our providers and will continue to work with individual programs to ensure the safety of our students.
This is an evolving situation, and for that reason, we have created a webpage on the Goucher website that will continue to be updated with the latest information. This page can also be accessed from the homepage.
Finally, let me reinforce that we currently have NO known cases of coronavirus on campus. We are taking these actions pre-emptively to ensure for the safety and well-being of the entire Goucher community.
Additional updates will be forthcoming as this situation continues to evolve, with the next update to be delivered by March 23rd at the latest. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we do what we feel is best to protect our students, faculty, and staff.
Kent Devereaux, President