Welcome to Issue 21 of Recap, MICA’s regular communication on the College’s progress and planning around the return to campus for Spring 2022 and beyond.
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Welcome to issue 21 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. More Info: Spring Metrics, Operational Mode 4, and a Commitment to In-Person Learning

  2. Following Up: Booster Deadlines and Uploading Proof of Vaccination

  3. Breaking It Down: What to Know About Masks

  4. Recap Revisit: Epidemiologist Information Sessions and Upcoming Town Halls

  5. What If: What if I’m having trouble registering with the MG Scanner app?

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

Spring Metrics, Operational Mode 4, and a Commitment to In-Person Learning
This week marked the beginning of MICA’s spring return to campus with students starting their move into the residence halls. With that, students began to join faculty and staff in the College’s on-campus testing program located in the Gateway building. The participation has been exceptional with over 600 tests being administered this past Tuesday alone. Continued thanks to the extraordinary cooperation, planning, and support of the entire MICA community—students, staff, and faculty.

With the Omicron variant of COVID-19, there have been many questions regarding MICA’s commitment to in-person teaching and learning. These questions are understandable with the high transmissibility of Omicron and general increase in positivity rates globally.  

The College’s continued commitment to our in-person educational experience is well-supported by current science, data, and our MICA community, which continues to uphold a very high level of public health and safety standards.

MICA’s approach has been—and always will be—guided by the science and the data of the pandemic. A cross-departmental team meets with our epidemiologists weekly to discuss the latest scientific developments, as well as hear from their first-hand experience in the field. These sessions, along with community feedback gathered from pan-college communications channels like this publication and the One MICA Town Halls, are used to guide the strategy, approach, and execution of the College’s academic mission.

The foundational planning work that developed from these sessions and helped guide MICA through a successful fall semester, as well as new components introduced because of the latest science and data, continue to positively support our in-person approach. Some of those elements are:

  1. A highly vaccinated campus population (~98%) along with a new booster requirement means less viral shedding, lower infection rates, and extraordinarily better outcomes if infected.

  2. A consistent and comprehensive indoors masking policy with high community adherence combined with free, high-quality KN95 mask distribution means significantly lower peer-to-peer transmission.

  3. A robust return-to-campus asymptomatic testing program and continued symptomatic testing for students provides high-quality data to inform ongoing planning and decision making.

  4. Expanded quarantine and isolation housing provides added capacity to support those who have tested positive and reduces the risk to the rest of the community.

Given the strong foundation formed by these elements, along with the extraordinary cooperation of our community, MICA will continue to approach the spring semester as primarily-in person under the guidelines of Expanded Operational Mode 4.

Additionally, as the data begins to suggest Omicron is reaching its peak, the College does not foresee any scenario where a reversion to a lower operational mode, nor a return to fully remote teaching and learning, would be needed. We also continue to plan for in-person signature events like Commencement and thesis exhibitions, and look forward to celebrating our graduating students on campus.

Booster Deadlines and Uploading Proof of Vaccination
As previously announced, the COVID-19 booster is required for all MICA campus community members. All employees are required to provide proof of receiving the COVID-19 booster by February 25, 2022.

If you have an approved exemption on file for the COVID-19 vaccination, your exemption includes the COVID-19 booster.

To manage vaccination status for employees, there is an updated feature in Workday where employees will provide information about each dose— vaccine type, dose, date received, and and photo proof of the vaccination like your card or other medical record document. For instructions to upload your COVID-19 vaccinations in Workday, click here.

Every employee will need to update their vaccination status in Workday using this new feature so College-wide reporting and employee records can be accurate.

Please note: Students are also required to obtain a COVID-19 booster as soon as they are eligible. Proof of having received the booster should be uploaded to the secure student Medicat portal found on the Student Health Services webpage. Questions can be directed to Student Health Services at 410-225.4118.

Having trouble finding proof of your vaccination? You can check at Many vaccinations in the state of Maryland are recorded here.

What to Know About Masks
As the pandemic has progressed, guidance around masks—both from government authorities and MICA—has been updated to reflect the latest data.

Most recently, the CDC updated information around how cloth masks compare to other masks that offer more protection—such as surgical masks and respiratory masks, like N95s and KN95s. Check out the latest guidance from the CDC, as well as recent news articles from the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and CNN, for more details.

With this, and recommendations from our consulting epidemiologists, MICA continues to strongly encourage our community to wear these higher quality masks, like the N95s and KN95s, while on campus. As previously announced on January 10, MICA will be distributing two KN95 masks to every member of our community. The Biden Administration also announced this week it would distribute 400 million N95 masks for free through pharmacies, grocery stores, and community health centers.

PLEASE NOTE: Further details on additional KN95 mask distribution will be shared  in the coming weeks.

Additionally, we wanted to share a few trusted resources, both locally and nationally, of where to buy additional masks for those who are able:
  1. The MICA store (10 pack and single mask)
  2. Mount Royal Soap
  3. Project N95
  4. Armbrust USA
  5. DemeTECH

And, to make sure you’re properly wearing these high filtration masks, see the video below from the CDC, and read the manufacturer’s instructions for the MICA-provided masks here.

Below, we’ve also included some graphics to help you get a better understanding of how different masks work, and why higher quality filtration masks are now being recommended over cloth face coverings.

Note: Exact filter layers and order vary by make and model of KN95 and N95s. This illustration depicts how the multiple layers add protection. Sources: National Center for Biotechnology Information (layers); E.P. Vicenzi/Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute and National Institute of Standards and Technology (cross-section) Jemal R. Brinson/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL


Note: Results published in Spring 2021. The CDC expects the Omicron variant to spread more easily. Source: ACGIH’s Pandemic Response Task Force/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Sources: CDC; National Institute of Standards and Technology; Jemal R. Brinson/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Epidemiologist Information Sessions and Upcoming Town Halls
Did you miss the two information sessions with MICA’s consulting epidemiologists last week? We’ve got you covered. You can view both the Faculty & Staff session and the Student & Parent session below.

If you have unanswered questions or additional topics you’d like to discuss, please use the feedback the button below, and we will work toward providing additional forums and communications as needed.

And, make sure to mark your calendars for the future One MICA Town Halls. All meetings will be held from 2:15 - 3:45 p.m.

Wednesday, February 16
Tuesday, March 15 (Spring Break week)
Tuesday, April 12
Tuesday, May 10
Wednesday, June 15
Tuesday, July 19
Wednesday, August 17

What if I’m having trouble registering with the MG Scanner app?
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.

What if I’m having trouble registering with the MG Scanner app?

Those who are being tested in MICA’s campus are required to register into the testing program through the Maryland Genomics MG Sample Scanner mobile phone app before arriving at the testing facility.

Those participating should have received an email from Maryland Genomics with details on downloading the app and registering for the program. Please note, if you did not receive the email or have previously registered but deleted the app, you may request another through this process.

If you do not own a smartphone or are experiencing other challenges, you are able to come to the testing site and we will work with you on alternative registration options.

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:

People, Belonging, & Culture:

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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