Welcome to Issue 17 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 17 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. As we begin to move beyond the pandemic, the ongoing need for an official College communications channel has not diminished—and Recap will carry on to fulfill this need. Here, we will continue to build shared understanding as One Team MICA.

We encourage you to use the Comment on This Topic button at the end of each story, and be sure to use the suggestion section at the end of each Recap not only to suggest ideas for future issues, but also topics for future One MICA Town Halls as well as feedback for previous ones.

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. What’s In and What’s Out: What MICA Is (and Purposely Not) Doing to Promote a Safe and Healthy Campus

  2. In the Works: Flu Shots and Booster Shots

  3. Follow Up: August One MICA Town Hall, Future Town Hall Dates

  4. More Info: One MICA Town Hall Follow Up Questions

  5. What If: Official Notifications on Positive Cases; Outdoor Dining Space in Inclement Weather

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

What MICA Is (and Purposely Not) Doing to Promote a Safe and Healthy Campus

With the semester now in full swing and the college starting to fall into the rhythms of on-campus teaching and learning, it’s an opportune time to review some of the key health and safety elements of MICA’s reopening plan.  The following Top 5 and Top 3 lists show the things MICA is doing on campus that you may not know about and some things we’re not doing (that may have you wondering why).  

MICA is doing/planning that you may not know about (but now you do)

Mandatory Asymptomatic Testing of Unvaccinated Students & Employees
While less than 2% of the College’s total population have been granted an approved vaccination exemption as defined in MICA’s Employee Vaccination Policy, MICA nonetheless has implemented a requirement for unvaccinated students and employees to be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. Progressive discipline will be applied for missed tests, starting with loss of campus access and up to suspension/termination. The testing program is being finalized with our partner health providers and expected to be activated in the next two weeks. Communication to unvaccinated students and employees with relevant details will be provided in advance of the first testing window.

On-Campus Symptomatic Student Testing Program
Since the start of the semester on August 27, MICA has been screening students presenting with COVID-like symptoms and aggressively performing testing for those who need it—with students being moved to MICA’s dedicated quarantine/isolation housing as necessary. To date, there have been only 2 positive student cases, making the overall case rate for students less than 0.2%.  Student Health Services encourages any student with symptoms to call for an over-the-phone assessment at 410-225-4118.

Case Rate Tracking & Contact Tracing
As a companion to the asymptomatic and symptomatic testing programs, MICA has also been performing thorough contact tracing of all close contacts of any campus member who has tested positive. All positive cases are being tracked and recorded with weekly case rates being evaluated with the College’s consulting epidemiologists. Finally, to provide transparency and help reduce anxiety of our community, expect a campus case rate reporting feature to be launched on MICA’s Fall Reopening Website soon. This feature will provide an easy way to check on the College’s weekly combined case rate. (Spoiler alert: it’s under 0.3%!)

Leave Accommodations for Quarantining/Isolation
As stated in our new COVID-19 Exposure, Policies, and Procedures web page MICA is providing leave accommodations for the required quarantine and isolation periods. If an employee does not have adequate sick-leave, MICA will provide up to 5 days of departmental-sponsored leave to cover quarantining/isolation until short-term disability coverage is activated. If an employee does not have short-term disability (such as a part-time employee), MICA will provide up to 10 days of departmental-sponsored leave.

Flexible Work Arrangements
To help our employees deal with potential disruption of work due to the unpredictability of COVID-19, MICA is providing for flexible work arrangements. As stated in the COVID-19  Exposure Policies and Procedures web page: For circumstances—such as minor dependent care—that may require flexibility in work schedule, a temporary, alternate work arrangement can be developed through the department of People, Belonging, and Culture (PB&C) and departmental managers. It is important to note that the development of these arrangements will be overseen by PB&C, ensuring objectivity and fairness.

MICA is NOT doing and why
Asymptomatic Testing for all Employees and Students
As you have no doubt heard before, a highly vaccinated campus is the cornerstone of MICA’s reopening plan and drives our health and safety policies and protocols.  The decision to not perform regular surveillance testing of vaccinated employees is a good example of this.

Here’s why:
  • COVID-19 tests have an error rate—producing a small percentage of false negatives and positives.
  • The higher the vaccination rate of a population, the lower the chance of infection. Current research suggests an 8x decrease in the chance of infection.
  • The lower the infection rate of a population, the more significant and problematic the false-positive rate of COVID-19 tests become—potentially inappropriately influencing campus-wide decision-making and causing undue stress among all those involved.
Following the CDC Guidelines for “Close Contact”
Per MICA’s  COVID-19  Exposure Policies and Procedures web page, the College defines close contact as any UNMASKED contact within 6 feet, for a duration of 15 minutes, within a 24 hour period, while the CDC’s guidance does not differentiate between masked and unmasked. Here’s why MICA’s definition is different: Knowing the vaccination rate of the population allows for the tailoring of policy to that rate. The CDC’s guidance by necessity cannot assume a vaccinated population. MICA’s guidance can. With current research suggesting those who are vaccinated are 8 times less likely to be infected by COVID-19, and masking making the likelihood even smaller, our consulting epidemiologists strongly believe any masked contact of vaccinated individuals should not be considered a close contact.

Notification of Individual COVID-19 Cases to the General Community
MICA’s symptomatic and asymptomatic testing is paired with robust contact tracing. This means that anyone who comes into close contact with someone with COVID-19 will be notified. If you haven’t been notified, then you are not considered a close contact. Announcing individual cases to the broader community does not make anyone safer and violates the medical privacy of the individual. MICA will, however, be providing reporting on overall case rates via an upcoming web-based reporting feature.

Fall Reopening
total approved

student cases
total college
case range
days of departmental-
sponsored leave provided
total students
on and off campus

employee case

total campus
vaccination rate

social agreement
non-compliance reports

Flu Vaccinations and Booster Shots
MICA is again mandating the flu vaccine this year. All members of the MICA community will need to receive their flu vaccine and provide proof, or receive an approved exemption. More details will follow, but please upload your proof as soon as you receive your shot.

Instructions for Uploading Proof of Flu Vaccine in Workday
Please use the following naming convention before uploading the document: Year_Flu_Vaccine (For example, a file would be named 2021_Flu_Vaccine).

  • Step 1: Log in to your Workday account.
  • Step 2: Click on your picture or the cloud icon in the top right corner.
  • Step 3: Select ‘View Profile.’
  • Step 4: Select ‘Personal’ on the left panel.
  • Step 5: Select ‘Documents’ at the top of the page.
  • Step 6: Click ‘Add’ and select the file that you would like to upload.
  • Step 7: Select ‘Proof of Vaccination’ for the Document Category.
  • Step 8: Click ‘OK.’

Additionally, please note: We continue to monitor news around COVID-19 booster shots as the situation remains fluid and continually changing.

While we will make a final decision regarding booster shots as national guidance solidifies, given the College’s current vaccination requirement, it seems likely that boosters will also be required as well.
August One MICA Town Hall, Future Town Hall Dates
In case you missed it—MICA held its most recent One MICA Town Hall on August 18. In that meeting, which was recorded and can be viewed here, the community discussed our expanded Operational Mode 4 currently in place, a Q+A with our consulting epidemiologists Dr. Anthony Harris and Dr. Jonathan Baghdadi, and more.

The presentation from that town hall is also available online here.

And don’t forget, all town halls are recorded and available for viewing at

Our next One MICA Town Hall is scheduled for Tuesday, September 21. To sign up for the meeting and add the event to your calendar, click here.

New Schedule for One MICA Town Halls Announced
In case you missed it, we’ve adopted a revised schedule for the next and upcoming One MICA Town Halls to better accommodate as many community members as possible.

Initially these town halls were held on Wednesdays—we’ll now be alternating between the middle Tuesday and Wednesdays of each month. Additionally, for employees working on alternative shifts, MICA will be providing an additional hour of paid time to encourage participation and attendance at the town hall.

Here are the rest of the upcoming town hall dates. Please mark your calendars, and we hope to see everyone there!

  • Tuesday, September 21
  • Wednesday, October 20
  • Tuesday, November 16
  • Wednesday, December 15
One MICA Town Hall Follow Up Questions
We know there were still some unanswered questions following the August 18 One MICA Town Hall, especially around cleaning procedures, masks, social distancing, field trips, and more.

A memo from Academic Affairs sent via email on August 23 went into these topics in detail. We’ll do a quick TL;DR summary here, but for full details, please read the memo in its entirety.

Do MICA’s epidemiologists discourage field trips? In other words, can we take students to visit a local museum or attend a film screening at the Parkway?
  • Required and optional academic field trips and site visits during Fall 2021 can proceed provided some precautions are followed.
  • Academic field trips cannot return to pre-pandemic conditions in the current operational mode, but can be included with careful planning and modifications.
  • The expanded Guidelines for Academic Field Trips—Fall 2021 can be found here, and should be followed for any and all trips off campus. The current prices for MICA shuttle and van transportation options can be found here.

What happens to CDC social distancing guidelines in Bunting classrooms with 25 students?
  • MICA’s consulting epidemiologists said that our emphasis on three best practices—vaccination policy compliance, indoor masking, and hand washing—allows us to relax other protocols like physical distancing.
  • Faculty who teach in the residential undergraduate or graduate program can design their courses to meet in two smaller groups, with half working online and half working face-to-face. See the Course Modality Definitions for further detail.  
  • Undergraduate faculty have the option to teach in a Hybrid Course Modality, which would allow faculty to split the class in half, for example, if smaller in-person groups are preferable.

How should we handle specific questions about individual care and handling of workspace-specific shared equipment such as coffee pots?
  • MICA’s consulting epidemiologists have said our focus on the above stated three best practices allows us to also relax other protocols, like repeated deep cleaning of shared tools.  
  • Each area should develop protocols for individual users to leave shared equipment wiped down and ready for future use.

Do we need to wear specific masks such as N95?
  • While indoors, all MICA students and employees are required to wear a well-fitting mask that covers their mouth and nose.
    • Prior to the pandemic, students were required to use N95 masks in the spray booths to minimize exposure to particulate matter, and will continue to use N95 masks in these facilities.  

What are MICA’s current cleaning protocols?
  • Facilities Management has implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocols due to the pandemic that are consistent with the CDC guidance for higher education institutions.
    • This includes a focus on high-touch areas and sanitizing frequency. EPA N-List antimicrobial products for use against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) are being utilized.
  • Areas that are cleaned, disinfected and sanitized by Facilities Management include:
    • public areas
    • restrooms
    • stairs
    • railings
    • elevators
    • door handles
    • office corridors
    • conference rooms (public)
    • classrooms
    • lobbies
    • kitchenettes (not including appliance interiors, utensils and dishes)
  • Departments/individuals are responsible for cleaning:
    • studio lab equipment
    • office interiors (furniture, display boards)
    • personal items (computers, screens, phones)

A full breakdown of cleaning protocols can be found in the aforementioned memo as well as in Recap 16, and updated air filtration details can be found here.

Official Notifications on Positive Cases; Outdoor Dining Space in Inclement Weather
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.

I’m a faculty member. What if I suspect that one of my students has tested positive for COVID-19? Will MICA officially notify me?

Like any student absence due to illness, faculty can expect to be notified either by the student or Louise Cracknell, student development specialist in Student Affairs. Due to medical privacy, the student is not compelled to disclose the reason for their absence.

If as a faculty member you are concerned about potential exposure to COVID-19, please know that MICA’s contact tracing program will notify any close contact of an individual who has tested positive. For additional COVID exposure guidelines and definitions, please refer to MICA’s  COVID-19  Exposure Policies and Procedures web page.

What if there’s inclement weather and outdoor spaces are unavailable for eating?

In MICA’s expanded Operational Mode 4, we’ve designated both indoor and outdoor areas where our campus community can safely unmask and eat. A full breakdown of those locations, including details around on-campus dining establishments, can be found here.

In the case there is inclement weather, or outdoor spaces—including the Cohen Plaza tent and the Lazarus West Lot tent—are unavailable, as was the case on Wednesday, September 1, MICA has set aside indoor seating for eating and drinking breaks available to students, staff, faculty, and essential visitors outside of Falvey Hall on the lower level in Brown Center. The capacity is 25 and is on a first come, first served basis. Falvey Hall is not available for use.

Additionally, offices and conference rooms can be used as designated eating and drinking areas if an individual is alone in the space.

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:


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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