Welcome to Issue 16 of Recap, MICA’s regular communication on the College’s progress and planning around the return to campus for Fall 2021 and beyond.
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Welcome to issue 16 of Recap, MICA’s regular communication channel.

Recap’s mission has been—and will continue to be—to help build shared understanding among the MICA community as the College navigated the complexities of the COVID-19 and reopening. When we begin to move beyond the pandemic, the ongoing need for an official College communications channel will not diminish—and Recap will carry on to fulfill this need. Here, we will continue to build shared understanding as One Team MICA.

We encourage your feedback through  the Comment on This Topic button after each story and the ideas area at the end of Recap. Your suggestions help inform topics for future issues of Recap and upcoming One MICA Town Halls.

And as always, some information may not apply to all programs and constituents, such as Open Studies. For specific information, please use the departmental directory at the end of this issue.

In This Issue:

  1. Deeper Dive: The Delta Variant, and What it Means for our Expanded Operational Mode 4

  2. Follow Up: Vaccination Deadline and August 18 Town Hall

  3. Recap Revisit: Campus Protocols

  4. What If: Dependent Children on Campus; Masking While Alone

  5. Transparency Report: A Snapshot of Responses from the Previous Issue of Recap

The Delta Variant, and What it Means for our Expanded Operational Mode 4
With the recent news of the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, you probably have questions about how it may be affecting Operational Mode 4 and MICA's on-campus experience for the fall.  

To help answer those questions, let’s start with some background.

Context and Strategy
When the College revised and expanded Operational Mode 4 for the fall semester, it did so in close collaboration with our consulting epidemiologists—Dr. Anthony Harris and Dr. Jonathan Baghdadi—and with oversight from the cross-functional Reopening Steering Work Group (RSWG).

Combined, their input directly informed the overarching strategy of OM4—namely, achieving and maintaining a highly vaccinated campus and starting the semester conservatively with more restrictions in place, but with provisions to open the campus more liberally if public health conditions allow. Because of this, MICA is able to safely and confidently proceed with Fall 2021 reopening under Operational Mode 4, maintaining existing policies and protocols, within the public health context of the Delta variant.

Core Elements
Below are some of the core elements of OM4: Please visit our breakdown of this expanded mode for full details.

  • Teaching and learning will take place primarily in person and on campus. Given our highly vaccinated campus community and robust public health and safety measures, we are confident that we will remain so for the duration of the Fall 2021 semester.

  • COVID-19 vaccinations—or approved exemptions—for all faculty, staff, and students are required. A highly vaccinated campus is the foundation on which all other elements of OM4 are built.

  • A deadline of August 18 for vaccination proof (or exemption submission) has been instated for all employees and students. ID cards will be deactivated as a consequence of non-compliance. See both the employee vaccination policy page and the Student Health Center page for more information.

  • Indoor masking remains mandatory. Eating and drinking is only allowed in designated areas.

  • The campus is closed to members of the public and family members, including dependent children. Please see the What If? feature below for the rationale behind this decision.

  • On-campus visitor access is restricted to essential visitors only. See the On-Campus Visitation Policy page for comprehensive definitions of allowed visitors and associated procedures.

  • Enhanced building HVAC filtration and cleaning protocols remain in effect—the enhanced protocols from OM3 continue in OM4. Please see Recap Revisit below for more details.

Ongoing Assessment
MICA continues to plan and continuously assess local, regional, and national public health conditions in accordance with our consulting epidemiologists and across all units of the College. We pull from a wide array of resources to understand the current health situation and public health guidance. Chief among those are:

  • Maryland Department of Health
  • Baltimore City Health Department
  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • New England Journal of Medicine
  • Journal of the American Medical Association

This continual assessment will inform our ongoing OM4 strategy and will provide the College with the information needed to adapt OM4 if necessary. But for now, their assessment is that Operational Mode 4 serves as a strong foundation for keeping our campus community safe.

As a reminder, our next One MICA Town Hall—slated for August 18—will feature our consulting epidemiological team. Any questions you have around the Delta variant, vaccinations and the COVID-19 pandemic can be pre submitted for the team using the Comment on This Topic button in the next section.

A Note About OM4 Policy Enforcement
We continue to receive questions about the enforcement of the policies outlined in OM4—primarily: “Who’s responsible?” This is understandable. For our community, the thought of needing to confront a stranger or even a colleague can certainly be stress-inducing.

Expectations for addressing—and procedures for reporting—violations of the Social Agreement are:

  • This is an extraordinary time for everyone, and the overwhelming majority of our community and visitors will be fully committed to doing their part to keep everyone safe.

  • MICA employees have always had an obligation to address potential health and safety concerns, either by directly addressing the behavior, informing a supervisor, reporting the behavior using this form, or contacting Campus Safety.

  • Employees are not asked to leave their traditional spaces or neglect their standard duties to address a concern, but within their scope, it is presumed we have the ability to kindly remind someone of the expectations.

  • Any concerns should be addressed politely and with care (e.g. “face coverings are required in this area, please put your face covering back on until you leave, thank you”).

  • Campus Safety should be engaged if someone refuses to comply or becomes belligerent.

With an ever-changing landscape, we understand it can be difficult to keep track of the most up-to-date policies associated with Expanded Operations Mode 4 (OM4). With that in mind, we've posted the full list of policies on MICA’s website here.
Vaccination Deadline and August 18 Town Hall
As outlined in Recap 15, MICA is requiring all employees who have a regular on-campus work schedule, including those with defined telework agreements, as well as all students, to receive both an approved COVID-19 vaccination AND an influenza vaccination, unless a reasonable accommodation has been granted.

And as the Delta variant of COVID-19—which is proving more transmissible—continues to move across the country and becomes the primary strain causing infections, it is important now more than ever for the MICA community to get the vaccine, and to provide proof of that vaccination (or exemption).

MICA employees and students are required to provide proof of vaccination, or their approved exemption, by 12 p.m. (noon) on Wednesday, August 18. Employees and students who fail to provide the required documentation will have their MICA IDs deactivated.

Have questions about documentation? See both the employee vaccination policy page and the Student Health Center’s web page for more information.

Don’t forget—the next One MICA Town Hall, which will include time with MICA's consulting epidemiologists, Dr. Anthony Harris and Dr. Jonathan Baghdadi, is scheduled for August 18 at 2:15 p.m. This meeting will be a chance for the MICA community to ask questions about COVID, the variants and more.

We highly encourage you to presubmit questions to the epidemiologists using the Comment on This Topic button below.

Campus Protocols
Cleaning & Filtration
As concerns surrounding the Delta variant are at the forefront of most of the MICA community’s mind, we’ve received questions regarding MICA’s cleaning policies and air filtration systems.

Last year, in our second issue of Recap, we outlined space cleaning protocols and building ventilation upgrades taking place in Operational Mode 3. We’re happy to report these policies remain in place in our current expanded Operational Mode 4.

You can look back at Recap issue 02 for full details on these policies and upgrades, but we’ll give you a quick reminder here, TL;DR style.

  • Buildings have been, and will continue to be, cleaned during two shifts per day, with doubled staff on the first shift to increase cleaning and sanitizing in high-touch areas.

  • Microban 24 hour protectant wiping of high touch surfaces and cleaning will be the primary focus, along with other daily duties, and Kleen Green 36 hour disinfecting will be completed three times each week.

  • Prior to the Spring 2021 semester, the air filtration systems of most MICA buildings were upgraded from “MERV 8” and “MERV 11” filters to the much higher performance “MERV 13” filters.
    • The previous filters were capable of filtering 75% of particles between .3 to 10 microns. The new filters installed can effectively filter out 90% or more of those particles.

Building Hours
As announced in the last issue of Recap, MICA has updated its building hours for Fall 2021. See a full list of hours here.

Parking Passes & Fitness Center
Beginning August 8, the biweekly deductions for parking and the Fitness Center will be reactivated. Anyone currently signed up for one of the paid parking lots and/or for access to the Fitness Center will have deductions reflected on their paycheck beginning August 27.

As a reminder, everyone with a parking pass—either paid or free—needs to request a new sticker each year using this link.

When your parking pass is ready, you will receive an email from Campus Safety about when and where to pick up your sticker.

Anyone with questions about the deductions, or anyone looking to sign up for these services for the first time, can contact Benefits Manager Lisa Diggs at

Under Operational Mode 4 (OM4), MICA’s campus is open to specific categories of visitors only and not to members of the public. The OM4 On-Campus Visitation Policy outlines those categories, defines their protocols, and provides a decision-tree to help you determine the appropriate category for your visitor or visitor group. View the On-Campus Visitation Policy Page
Dependent Children on Campus; Masking While Alone
As a reminder, What if? is an ongoing feature of Recap intended to help create a shared understanding by posing real-world “what if” scenarios submitted by the community. In this issue of Recap, we’ve got two What if? questions for you.

What if my child needs to be picked up from school because of an unplanned emergency and I need to be on campus for work? Am I allowed to bring them to my office for the remainder of the day?

Thanks for your question. It’s an important issue for many MICA’s employees. Unfortunately, in Operational Mode 4, MICA’s campus is not open to members of the public or family members, including dependent children. Ultimately, only MICA employees and essential visitors who have complied with all applicable policies and protocols are allowed on campus.

Given the recent findings regarding the rapid spread and significantly increased transmissibility of the COVID-19 Delta variant, our consulting epidemiologists believe the risk to children is simply too great to warrant providing an exception. Given this, if you need to pick up your child because of an unplanned emergency, there are a few options available to you:
  • If your child is sick, MICA’s leave policy includes caring for sick dependent children making it appropriate for use in this situation.

  • If your child is not sick but needs care due to school closures, for example, the College allows for ad-hoc/occasional flex time or telework arrangements to shift the hours you are working (from day to evening, for example) to accommodate your needs without necessarily using vacation or personal days. These arrangements should be discussed with your manager or supervisor.

  • Employees can always request to take vacation or personal days as well.

We understand that this may not be an ideal solution for everyone in all situations, but the health and safety of all our community members—including the children of our employees—has been, and continues to be, MICA’s primary guiding principle throughout the pandemic.

What if I am unmasked and by myself in an empty office and someone walks in. Should I put my mask back on?

Masking is required at all times unless you are in a designated eating/drinking space or alone in an office or conference room. If someone walks into the office, you should put your mask back on to interact and speak with one another.

A Snapshot of Responses from the Previous Issue of Recap
As mentioned previously, we’ve included the ability for you to submit comments on individual topics for each issue of Recap in order to help provide an open dialogue around the complex and evolving issues of mounting the 2021 semester.

We thank all of you who have submitted thoughtful comments from past issues. Those comments are used to inform future issues, raise awareness on topics, and ultimately help build shared understanding as One Team MICA. And while we cannot provide individual recognition for each comment, we are providing a summary snapshot of those comments to promote transparency.

Please address specific questions to an appropriate departmental contact.
Graduate Studies:

Undergraduate Studies:

Student Affairs:

Open Studies:

Finance and Operations:


Strategic Communications:

Human Resources:

Strategic Initiatives:



Parent Relations:

That’s it for this installment of Recap. Thank you for your engagement in this ongoing dialogue and building of shared understanding. If there are any topics you would like to have addressed in future installments—or in future One MICA Town Halls—please provide your ideas here.

Stay safe and be well.

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