Welcome to Issue 04 of Recap, MICA’s regular communication on the College’s progress and planning around the return to campus for Spring 2021 and beyond.

Welcome to issue 04 of Recap, MICA’s regular communication on the College’s progress and planning around the return to campus for Spring 2021 and beyond.

As a regular snapshot of the College’s current thinking, emergent ideas, and ongoing planning around safely and successfully mounting the 2021 academic year, Recap is also a place for dialogue, so we encourage you to use the Comment on This Topic button at the end of each story. We use your feedback to help build our shared understanding as One Team MICA.

And as always, while Recap is intended to be a general update on MICA’s AY 2021 reopening efforts, 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. Recap Revisit: Employee Furlough Communications

  2. Deeper Dive: More Details about Testing and Enforcement

  3. Recap AMA: Ask MICA’s Epidemiologists Anything

  4. Follow Up: Social Contract Enforcement

  5. On Track: Staff Survey Progress

  6. What If: Unsupervised building access concerns?

  7. Transparency Report: Comments from Community

Employee Furlough Communications
Issue 03 of Recap, provided information regarding key communication dates for our currently furloughed employees.  We received several comments and requests for clarification around this topic.

Many of you were concerned about how the College is communicating with furloughed employees given the restriction inherent in the furlough process. To clarify, Human Resources has alternate, non-MICA email addresses and phone numbers for all furloughed employees and has already been for some, and will soon be for all, communicating with them through these channels.

Additionally, there were many thoughtful comments asking if furloughed employees have been made aware of Recap as it may contain relevant information for them. Like this one:

How are furloughed employees being made aware of the existence of Recap given that they are not allowed to access their emails as a function of furlough and collecting unemployment?  While the Recap issues are also being uploaded to the website, furloughed staff will not know to look for them.  Also, it is important to make clear to furloughed employees whether or not they are able to submit comments or concerns in regards to topics, or whether this would be considered work that could violate terms of unemployment.  Much of the information shared in the Recap is information they may want and need prior to January 3rd when they return to campus. It may help alleviate concerns they have about returning to MICA and reduce stress and anxiety.

First, thank you for the concerns and caring suggestions.  In issue 03, we noted that “Human Resources will contact affected employees between December 14, 2020 and December 18, 2020 to confirm a return to work date.”  To that end, HR is currently developing two communications. The first is a general message to all furloughed employees that will provide more specific information on return dates and protocols to be sent out next week.  A second, individualized communication with information specific to each furloughed employee will follow in December. These communications will be shared with managers and supervisors as well.  Additionally, they will contain information on how to access Recap issues on the web as well as providing links to the new Spring Reopening pages. Employees will also be informed that they can—without violating their furlough terms—submit comments to Recap.

More Details about Testing and Enforcement
A continuing theme in Recap feedback is the desire to hear more specifics about MICA’s testing strategy and on-campus policies. While final policies and protocols have not officially been finalized, they are close. And in the spirit of Recap, here’s the most current, near-final information we have on this subject.


  • All individuals returning to campus will need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test immediately prior to arrival on the physical campus. The test must be no more than 3 days old. We’ll be sharing more information on acceptable testing methods and how to locate providers in future issues of Recap.

  • MICA will be launching a mandatory, regular, asymptomatic testing program for all community members routinely accessing campus. This means that everyone (students, faculty, and staff) routinely accessing the physical campus will be regularly tested for COVID-19 regardless of whether or not they are exhibiting symptoms.

  • The use of the word “regular” above is deliberate. The epidemiologist group is meeting weekly with MICA to gain a better, more nuanced understanding of the College’s operation, campus, and culture in order to fine-tune the testing protocols. So a final recommendation on frequency of testing has yet to be made. However, the current thinking is “regular” equates to weekly testing. But, again, this could ultimately change as the situation evolves. 

  • MICA’s testing site will be set up in BBOX in Gateway. We will be using anterior nasal swab PCR tests that are self-administered under the in-person, direct supervision of a medical professional.  MICA will be partnering with a lab at the University of Maryland’s Institute of Genome Sciences in downtown Baltimore where the tests will be processed.  Test kits and samples will be couriered back and forth to the lab with results provided within 48 hours.

Testing Management:

  • The asymptomatic testing programknown sometimes as a surveillance testing program — will be managed by MICA with no cost to the individual community member.

  • Student Health Services has beenand will continue to be — able to manage the testing for any local students who are symptomatic and/or are close contacts of someone who has tested positive. Students not in the immediate area and all employees should work with their primary care provider or local health clinic if they are symptomatic and/or a close contact of someone who tested positive.

Contact Tracing:

  • Partnering with the Baltimore City Health Department, the College will be mounting its own contact tracing program and will communicate directly with the Health Department to ensure accurate and timely exchange of information.

Quarantine Accommodations:

  • MICA will maintain an inventory of at least 30 beds for quarantine / isolation housing for those students living on-campus. Students living off-campus and employees will need to quarantine / isolate in their residence when appropriate or directed by a medical provider.

Ask MICA’s Epidemiologists Anything
In our ongoing quest to create shared understanding, the upcoming issue of Recap will include our first ever Recap AMA.  MICA’s epidemiologist group from University of Maryland will be answering questions submitted by our community in a video interview where we will “ask them anything”. So if you have questions that need expert answers, just click on the Ask the Experts button below.
Social Agreement Enforcement
We have received several comments regarding enforcement of our unified social agreement first mentioned in Issue 03 of Recap. So we asked Mike Patterson, vice president of student affairs and dean of students, to add some clarity on the topic. Mike says:

Most violations of the social agreement will be responded to through a progressive discipline and educational process that will run through Student Affairs (for students) and supervisors/HR (for employees). Currently being envisioned is a rough "three strikes" system, although if someone's behavior is extraordinarily problematic the College obviously can respond in a quicker, more forceful manner. A web-based form has already been built for community members to report possible violations, which is a resource that exists in addition to our normal infrastructures e.g. Campus Safety, Residence Life, area managers addressing behavior in local areas.

Thanks, Mike!

Staff Survey
In issue 02 of Recap, we noted that several community members suggested that a staff survey regarding attitudes toward returning to campus in the spring was needed.  We agreed and committed to providing just such a survey “in the coming weeks”.

Last week, Sammy Hoi and Charlene Hayes met with Kirk Snow, SEC Co-Chair, to discuss the best approach for such a survey. Subsequent to that meeting, HR and the SEC Co-Chairs, Snow and Siân Evans, have collaborated to produce a final set of survey questions. Staff should expect to see that survey in their inboxes today or Monday, November 23
Real-World Questions from the Community
As a reminder, What if? Is an ongoing feature of Recap intended to help create a shared understanding of what the 2020 - 2021 academic year will look and feel like by posing real-world what if scenarios submitted by the community.

What if a student injures themselves while working in an unsupervised shop or lab?

Thanks for the question. To get the answer, we talked with members of Student Affairs and academic services.

While Operational Mode 3 mandates a highly de-densified campus, it is important to understand that shops, studios, and labs with equipment that requires management or supervision will always be appropriately staffed when open to students. MICA’s normal infrastructure made up of caring and dedicated professionals will continue to be in place and activated including, but not limited to, Student Affairs, Campus Safety, Residence Life, Health Services, Student Counseling and other individuals and teams such as our student development specialist, the Behavior Intervention Team and the Academic Response Team.

Additionally, we anticipate only a portion of our student body being physically at MICA, which means our support structures can more easily pay attention to those who are present. For example, Campus Safety and Residence Life will be operational and tending, respectively, to the campus and their students as would normally be expected, although they will be paying attention to smaller populations than normal. Shops will only be open when staff are present, building guards will be present when buildings are open, and various staff and faculty will remain regularly engaged with students, even if remotely.

Comments from the Community
Community Engagement Trends
A note on reader-supplied comments. As you can see from the trend line graph, comments from the community are on a downward trend. We encourage everyone to submit their comments and questions. We really do use them to help develop content for upcoming issues. We want to make sure we’re creating shared understanding within the entire MICA community.

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, please provide your ideas here.

Stay safe and be well.

Coming Up in Issue 05: Clearing up the Confusion around Operational Modes

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