Return to Campus Update
Dear Goucher Community,
I write with several updates regarding the spring semester. I've heard from numerous students and parents with questions and concerns regarding the spring academic calendar, the prospect for athletic competition, and a possible return to campus later in the semester. While we don't have all the answers now, I wanted to update you with the latest information we do have and let you know you can expect additional updates in the next few weeks.
We are well aware that remaining online for the spring prolongs the challenges we
all face staying energized and motivated in the midst of this pandemic. Therefore,
in response to requests from students to find some way to mitigate the pressure of
a condensed semester schedule, we have decided to add two additional reading days
(March 3 and April 30) as well as a four-day Spring Pause that will extend from March
27-30. This will result in the spring semester ending one day later than previously
announced. This updated calendar, along with the important dates students need to
remember, has been posted on the website.
There will not be any synchronous or asynchronous classes scheduled on these reading days or during the Spring Pause, nor will there be any make-up work or expectations of students to be online these days. Instead, we recognize the need for all of us to log off and recharge. The faculty are continuing to think very creatively about ways to support our students' mental health and build in what flexibility they can in their teaching while maintaining the rigorous learning that is the hallmark of a Goucher education.
Additionally, to support students' mental health and successful learning, we will once again accommodate student access to campus for academic purposes. If you already indicated that you needed this access in the fall, it will be extended automatically. If you want to request new access, just fill out this form.
The Library, Writing Center, Quantitative Reasoning Center, ACE, Accessibility Services, CEO, Global Education, and Community Based-Learning will all continue to provide virtual academic support services throughout the semester.
What's more, if COVID-19 indicators for Goucher to reopen look better by February 12, we may be able to allow a limited number of classes to move to a hyflex model for the last seven weeks of the semester (starting with a phased move-in period over the Spring Pause) to keep students on track in courses that really need an in-person component. We will announce this week which classes will be offered in-person for the second half of the semester should we meet the criteria for bringing students back to campus.
Finally, after a very successful January term, we are now planning to offer expanded June and July terms that will include both online and in-person classes as well as the opportunity for students to live on campus. Look forward to more information on these new summer course offerings in the weeks to come.
Residential & Student Life
We will be accepting housing applications for the second half of the semester beginning
Friday, February 12. Priority for the Spring Semester housing will be given to Seniors,
Student-athletes, Students enrolled in hybrid courses this spring semester, and students
meeting the published exemption criteria. We do foresee having additional space for
those who do not fall into any of these groups but who might want to return to campus.
However, we need to confirm we can accommodate all priority groups first. Housing
for the second half of the spring term will be in single occupied spaces. Also, we
still have some beds available for the first half of the semester and continue to accept applications for those who feel they warrant an exception based upon the published criteria.
We are also excited to offer housing for the summer. Applications for summer housing will be available in April. We know students are ready to be independent college students again, so we want to encourage students to return to campus this summer and then remain, if so desired, in their summer assigned room throughout the entire academic year. We hope and will try our best to ensure that a student residing in a room on campus during the second half of the spring and summer would be able to remain in that same room throughout the next academic year.
We are also adding an additional full-time, live-in Residential Life Coordinator to the housing team to better support our students' return to campus.
The College will announce final plans for all spring semester sports and athletic
activities on Friday, February 12. The Landmark Conference is scheduled to make a
decision regarding spring competition on February 10. If we are on track to meet our
previously established opening criteria, we will determine at that time what spring
sports Goucher College can participate in Landmark competition. Our intent is for
Goucher to compete in all low-risk and intermediate-risk spring season sports as classified
by the NCAA. However, our decision may only allow for competition in low-risk spring
sports: tennis, golf, track & field, equestrian. We will have to wait and see what
the Landmark Conference decides and assess the COVID positivity rates locally and
regionally at that time.
If we meet our opening criteria, all student-athletes will be invited to return to campus. Fall and winter sports athletes will have the opportunity to train with teammates and coaches but will not engage in intercollegiate competition. If conference competition in intermediate-risk sports like lacrosse is not possible, those teams will still be able to train on campus. Student-athletes participating in any athletic activities will be subject to additional, more frequent testing than the general student body population as recommended by the NCAA Sport Science Institute.
I am happy to report that the reduction in on-campus activity this winter has allowed
the College the opportunity for additional due diligence in our efforts to select
a new campus safety provider and improve overall campus safety. The selection committee,
consisting of student, faculty, and staff representatives, will meet with the three
different vendors who have submitted proposals to evaluate them based on the criteria
and feedback we have received from the Goucher community. This enhanced due diligence
will also include additional time for interviews and presentations to the Goucher
We have also decided to convert the position of Director of Campus Safety from an external position to a Goucher employee. It is important to note there will be no gap in public safety services as we make these changes. We continue to work with our current vendor, GardaWorld, to affect a smooth transition.
We will continue to send updates as conditions (hopefully) improve and more decisions are finalized. Please continue to check the College's return to campus website. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we navigate what we believe will be the final stretch in this enormously challenging academic year.
Kent Devereaux, President