COVID-19 Alert Levels

Goucher College has established a color-coded series of alert levels intended to inform the college community about the level of risk posed by the COVID-19 virus to our community at any time and the associated public health measures that will be implemented as a result. These alert levels will be based on specific data monitored on the Goucher campus both daily and weekly, including testing for and monitoring the prevalence of the COVID-19 virus on campus, as well as other key metrics in the city of Baltimore, Baltimore County, and the state of Maryland.

These alert levels may be applied at any time to the entire college community or to a specific portion of the population within the community. For example, should we find the presence of COVID-19 in Fireside Hall through our regular testing of the wastewater/sewage across campus, all residents of this building would follow the measures outlined for the Orange Level until additional testing could be conducted on individuals.

With few exceptions, these alert levels are intended to be fluid, thus allowing us to react quickly to the most current data we have.

Goucher College has established clear Pre-arrival Criteria that must be met prior to any decision to allow students to return to campus.

Pre-arrival Criteria

  1. The seven-day average positivity rate for Maryland has remained at 5% or less for the previous 14 days.
  2. The seven-day average positivity rate for Baltimore County has remained at 5% or less for the previous 14 days.
  3. Hospitals in Baltimore and Baltimore County are able to treat all patients requiring hospitalization safely and without resorting to crisis standards of care.
  4. Maryland has the capacity to promptly test all persons with COVID-19 symptoms.
  5. Maryland has the capacity to actively monitor all known COVID-19 cases and their contacts.
  6. The CDC and/or local public health officials have not issued any guidance advising against resumption of in-person classes.

Additional, students in a county of residence currently experiencing abnormally high rates of COVID-19 infections as indicated in red on this map will have to quarantine for 14 days upon return to campus.

Baseline Public Health Measures

The following baseline public health measures should be in place until there are no longer sustained COVID-19 outbreaks:

  1. Masking while in shared spaces
  2. Physical distancing of six feet or more
  3. Respiratory hygiene (covering coughs & sneezes)
  4. Hand hygiene
  5. Cleaning spaces after use
  6. Following isolation and quarantine procedures
  7. Reporting any exposure to COVID-19 to the Student Health Center
  8. Submitting daily screening measures through the appropriate forum and self-isolating if symptomatic
  9. Agreeing to contact tracing plan
  10. Not visiting residence halls that have increased safety measures (Level 2 residence halls)

Activities by Alert Level

Within each alert level, there are additional public health measures that should be considered based on the level of COVID-19 infection on campus.

Current Level:

Yellow Alert

Blue Alert Level

Blue signifies a return to normal.

  1. Physical distancing ceases
  2. Mask wearing is limited to when a person is sick
  3. Continue to practice good hand and respiratory hygiene 
  4. No restrictions on seating
  5. Return to served dining

Green Criteria

  1. Regional rates of infection (less than 5% positivity rate for 14 days); and/or
  2. 20 or fewer residential students who are quarantined for a two-week period; and/or
  3. Stable wastewater positivity from baseline for two weeks; and/or
  4. 0-25% of isolation space filled

Green Alert Level

In Green, the following guidelines should be considered:

  1. Visitation will be allowed in Level 1 residence halls.
  2. In classes, faculty may move in the classroom at their discretion, but should not hover over or be in a student’s personal space. Students may come to the front of the classroom for presentations and/or to use the lectern.
  3. Athletics—Phase 3:
    1. The SRC will be opened on a limited basis to the general population, according to the plan from Athletics.
    2. Extracurricular activities may be held, adhering to the physical distancing capacity of the space.
  4. Dining room restrictions may be lessened. (Student Market may be used if limited capacity in the space is maintained).
  5. Faculty and staff may begin to use Mary Fisher Dining again.
  6. Common areas open with physical distancing measures and occupancy limits in place.
  7. In-person fitness classes are allowed with appropriate safety measures in place.

Yellow Criteria

  1. Regional rates of infection (5-9% positivity rate for 14 days); and/or
  2. Increasing or stable regional hospital capacity for 14 days; and/or
  3. 21-40 residential students who are quarantined for a two-week period; and/or
  4. Stable wastewater positivity within two percentage points of baseline for two weeks; and/or
  5. 25-50% of isolation space filled

Yellow Alert Level

In addition to Green Level criteria, Yellow Level will be also used during the first two weeks that the community is back on campus.

In Yellow, the following guidelines should be considered:

  1. In classes, faculty should stay in the two-foot zone at the front of the classroom, behind the plexiglass if possible. No students should be allowed in the instructor’s space in the classroom.
  2. Dining is open with prepackaged meals and with physically distant seating at a restricted capacity.
  3. During the first two weeks, all residence halls will be considered Level 2, which means they will be closed to visitors. Any Yellow alert after the first two weeks will result in halls functioning at their assigned level (Level 2 = no visitors, Level 1 = visitors allowed).
  4. Staff and faculty should not use Mary Fisher Dining.
  5. Common areas open with physical distancing measures and occupancy limits in place.
  6. Athletics—Phase 1 & 2: The SRC will be opened to student athletes and academic classes only.
  7. The Athenaeum will be opened according to their plans.
  8. Extracurricular activities may be held with up to 10 people.
  9. No indoor in-person recreational fitness classes.
  10. Tabling is allowed with only two people present at the table and physical distancing occurring.

Orange Criteria

  1. Regional rates of infection (10-14% positivity rate for 14 days); and/or
  2. Decreasing regional hospital capacity for 14 days; and/or
  3. Increase in COVID-19 in the main campus sewage that hasn’t yet been isolated to a specific building; and/or
  4. Increase in wastewater positivity (2-5%); and/or
  5. 41-80 residential students who are quarantined for a two-week period; and/or
  6. 50-75% of isolation space filled; and/or
  7. Anticipated shortage of supplies for cleaning and PPE; and/or
  8. Increasing concern about the number of tests available; and/or
  9. Evidence the campus community is ignoring baseline public health measures

Orange Alert Levels

Orange Level should be used mainly as a temporary stage while assessing level of infection.

In Orange, the following additional public health measures should be considered:

  1. Classes should move into online classes whenever it’s possible.
  2. No visiting residence halls that are not your own.
  3. Common areas throughout campus are closed.
  4. Minimize exposures/close contacts as much as possible.
  5. Encourage students/faculty/staff to follow strict public health guidelines.
  6. Dining will continue to only offer prepackaged meals.
  7. Staff and faculty should not use Mary Fisher Dining.
  8. The SRC and Athenaeum will be closed for community use.
  9. No in-person meetings should be held unless approved by the divisional VP.
  10. No in-person events should be held.
  11. No tabling allowed.
  12. Essential staff on campus only.

Red Criteria

  1. Regional rates of infection or other metrics that require the state and/or county to shut us down and/or implement stay at home orders (15+% positivity rate for 14 days); and/or
  2. 80+ residential students who are quarantined for a two-week period; and/or
  3. 5+ unrelated cases; and/or
  4. 75% or more of isolation space filled; and/or
  5. Inability to test or contact trace; and/or
  6. Wastewater positive in three or more buildings; and/or
  7. Increase in campus wastewater positivity (greater than 5% from baseline); and/or
  8. Indication of outbreak among staff/faculty resulting in 30% or more absent from work; and/or
  9. Insufficient supplies for cleaning and PPE

Red Alert Level

In Red, the prevalence of COVID-19 on campus or in the surrounding region is too high and the college will need to put the following measures into place ASAP:

  1. Transition to online learning.
  2. Send students home (if it can be done safely).
  3. Continue to support students who must remain on campus in quarantine, isolation, or because they aren’t able to safely travel home.
  4. Implement telework of non-essential staff/faculty.
  5. Cease all other extracurricular activities.