May 12: Looking Forward to Summer and Fall

May 12, 2021 9:32 AM

Good morning,

As the spring semester ends, students have left campus and we are heading into the summer session. I offer this update on several topics related to summer work structure for employees and plans for what we know about our return to campus this fall. An important caveat — if conditions change, we may need to adjust our decisions based on health guidelines and the science as we continue to emerge from this pandemic.

Summer 2021

COVID Check-in App and Testing

All employees, whether you are working remotely, working on campus, or taking annual leave, should continue to complete the daily check-in by using the Check-in App/Portal. The twice-weekly testing protocol for eligible students and employees has concluded. Consistent with what we did last summer and during intersession, individuals who identify virus-like symptoms should contact their health care provider.

Return to Work for Those Teleworking

Some USM institutions have announced a date for full return to campus this summer. We have not announced a date yet. The advice of the executive cabinet was a gradual return to work over the summer. At this point, decisions about employees returning to campus are being made at the division level by the respective VPs. We will give at least three weeks’ notice if there are any changes to this guidance.

Summer Camps and Events

All health and safety guidance remain in place for anyone on campus. Capacities for some spaces are in the process of being adjusted based on the revised information from the state. Additional revisions to health and safety guidance will be shared once available. We will be offering fewer summer camps than in the past. Camps will meet safety and health guidelines and incorporate recommended social distancing and masking requirements.

Fall 2021

Campus Environment

If we continue to see an improvement in health conditions in this region and across the state, I anticipate a loosening of restrictions based on recommendations from the CDC and the state. We would likely see less social distancing indoors, allowing more individuals from the community on campus, and, perhaps, reduced mask wearing. At this point in time, we do not know when those changes will be announced. Regarding residence halls, we anticipate a mix of singles and doubles this coming fall.

Vaccinations and Exemptions

We continue to work with USM concerning the mandate that all students and employees on campus in the fall be vaccinated. FSU is developing its policy on exemptions, medical and religious, and will provide that process by the end of May. We have also contacted the bargaining units that represent our employees covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement. Additionally, you can find information about vaccination opportunities here.

Telework Policy

Based on what we have learned this year, FSU is revising its telework policy. A draft of a revised telework policy will be shared with the Staff and Faculty Senates as well as leadership from the bargaining units for input.

Ongoing Communications

The Response and Recovery Team, which has been developing and advising on campus actions and responses to the pandemic over the past 14 months, will continue to meet and will periodically meet with shared governance leadership to solicit input and answer questions. As President, I will continue to provide opportunities for feedback on a regular basis during the summer and answer questions from the campus community. Watch for more information in emails and on the website throughout the summer.

I hope we continue to see an improvement in health conditions so that we can continue to relax many of the restrictions we have lived with for more than a year.   

Stay safe and be well,
Ronald Nowaczyk, PhD
President, Frostburg State University