Goucher's Return to Campus Plan
Dear Goucher Community,
I hope you are as excited as I am to return to a primarily on-campus, in-person learning experience this fall. At Goucher, this includes our students living in our residence halls, participating in on-campus events, attending classes in person, and resuming all Landmark Conference athletic competition.
However, I know many of you have also grown increasingly nervous as we have seen the number of new coronavirus infections nationwide rise dramatically in recent weeks, especially in those states with low vaccination rates. Several people have also asked what changes we might anticipate for the fall given the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance concerning face masks issued this past week.
Let me try to address a few of the most frequently asked questions. You can also expect additional updates from the Office of Human Resources and the Student Health Center in the coming weeks.
We have made and will continue to make all decisions with the health and safety of the entire Goucher community foremost in our minds. For this reason, we have required COVID-19 vaccinations for all students, faculty, and staff who will be on campus this fall.
The Office of Human Resources and Student Health Center have done a remarkable job in tracking the vaccination rates of all students, faculty, and staff. Human Resources reports that over 90% of our faculty and staff have submitted vaccination or exemption documents. The overwhelming majority of those who have yet to submit documentation are faculty currently off-contract. Once faculty are back on contract as of August 16, we expect to see close to 100% of all faculty and staff vaccinated. In addition, we received very few formal requests for medical or religious exemptions.
Meanwhile, we still have slightly over 100 undergraduate students who have yet to submit vaccination or exemption documents. However, that number decreases every day as staff calls to remind students to turn in their proof of vaccination. Students have until this Friday, August 6, to submit proof of vaccination or exemption documents to avoid their classes and housing assignments being cancelled.
Goucher College will continue to conduct wastewater surveillance testing twice weekly until we deem there is minimal risk in discontinuing this practice. In addition, residential students will be tested individually for the SARS-CoV-2 virus should their residence hall report a positive wastewater test and students who test positive will be isolated.
Very importantly, if a student receives a positive test from somewhere other than the Goucher Student Health Center, they must inform the Health Center immediately using this form. A Health Center staff member will then follow up with them to obtain more information.
Finally, students, faculty, and staff with religious or medical exemptions to the vaccination requirement must participate in ongoing surveillance testing and will need to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival to campus.
Given the recent rise in coronavirus cases due to the delta variant, effective immediately, Goucher College will require all members of our community, including visitors and guests, to wear face masks whenever indoors on campus.
This decision is in line with recent CDC guidance designed to decrease the risk of transmission of the virus. It is made with the safety of our entire community in mind, especially those with loved ones who have underlying medical conditions, children who are not eligible for vaccination, or those who serve as caretakers for especially vulnerable family members.
Within the residence halls, everyone must wear a mask in hallways, lobbies, and any meeting/common rooms. Additionally, all students, faculty, staff, and visitors using the SRC (Sports and Recreation Center) must be masked while using the facility.
Likewise, staff and faculty must wear masks in hallways, lobbies, meetings with ten or more people, or when entering someone’s office. Staff and faculty may also request people keep their masks on when meeting with them in their personal office space.
Students, faculty, and staff with religious or medical exemptions to the vaccination requirement must wear masks at all times whether indoors or out.
All indoor and outdoor events will proceed as planned this fall. All attendees and participants (including vendors and guests) at indoor events must wear masks. Masks are encouraged but not required at large outdoor gatherings. In addition, all vendors who interact with members of the Goucher community must be fully vaccinated.
We will continue to send updates as conditions (hopefully) improve this fall. However, just as the College is taking precautions for everyone’s safety, it is imperative that every member of the community also develops their own personal safety plan when not on campus.
We are encouraging you to evaluate your personal masking, travel, and event attendance protocols. The overall safety of our campus depends on each one of us and how we behave off-campus and on campus this fall.
I look forward to seeing all this fall. Please continue to check the College's return to campus website for further updates.
Kent Devereaux, President