COVID-19 Updates and Information

Guidance & Steering/Working Groups

COVID Indicators

Frostburg State University’s response to the current novel coronavirus pandemic requires the ability to quickly absorb important research data and public health information, while using judgment under imperfect conditions to make decisions regarding the safety of students, faculty, and staff. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has operated by making decisions that have been informed by national, state, and local health conditions, as well as guidance from the Governor of Maryland and Chancellor of the University System of Maryland. Both the Pandemic Response Plan and the Recovery Response Plan have utilized phased-in levels as an operational guide.

FSU will monitor several key COVID-19 indicators that may impact the local and institutional environment. These indicators have been adapted from COVID-19 Planning Guide and Self-Assessment for Higher Education (OpenSmartEDU, 2020). Correspondingly, each key COVID-19 indicator will have trigger metrics that will inform our decision-making regarding our institutional recovery response level. These indicators include incidence and prevalence, positivity rate, case clustering from contact tracing, regional healthcare preparedness, testing capacity, health center capacity, quarantine/isolation capacity, adherence to public health protective factors, local conditions, state conditions, wastewater testing and vaccination and post-COVID immunological antibody rates.

Frostburg State University’s Pandemic Response Team will continuously monitor the key COVID-19 indicators to discern patterns of concern that would potentially trigger the raising or lowering of our institutional recovery response levels. In most instances, triggers will be evaluated in coordination with our director of health services, local health officials, key institutional stakeholders, and the President. As there are 12 indicators, the Pandemic Response Team will consider positive or negative triggers of several key COVID-19 indicators that would prompt a recommendation to the President to raise or lower the institutional recovery response level, unless the scope or intensity of at least one of the indicators would overwhelmingly initiate a high-level concern. The President will communicate any modifications in response levels to the University with a specific implementation plan.

Pandemic Recovery Plan

As FSU began to see the possibility of COVID-19 becoming a pandemic, we relied upon our Pandemic Response Team to provide guidance, a role that continues as we move forward into the fall semester. At this point, we are being guided by the Pandemic Recovery Plan. There are three levels in the recovery plan:

PANDEMIC RECOVERY LEVELS

Level 1: Classes remain online; essential housekeeping, maintenance, grounds keeping, and administrative staff working; limited population of students on-campus; most operations continue to telework; social distancing, face mask donning in the presence of others, hand washing, and student/employee health monitoring checkins required.

Level 2: Buildings remain open and services remain available; students can remain in residence halls with limitations on size of gatherings and reduced density; telework continues, staff are completing essential functions with reduced footprint as authorized by supervisors; faculty working with students on online implementation of blended modalities; social distancing, face mask donning in the presence of others, hand washing, and student/employee health monitoring checkins required.

Level 3: (Current as of May 24, 2021) National, state and local pandemic indicators trigger improved conditions; Governor’s office and USM provides return-to-normal guidance; vaccine becomes available; some public health measures may stay in place, while others are incrementally lifted; operations and classroom restrictions begin to return to normal; recovery levels transition to preparatory phase.

 


As the University continues to prepare to reopen and welcome back our students, faculty, staff, and other community members, we want to share additional information regarding our work behind the scenes. The Recovery Team was established to develop a road map that summarizes our plan for reopening that is informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions' Interim Guidance for Administrators of U.S. Institutions of Higher Education and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's COVID-19 Planning Guide and Self-Assessment for Higher Education.

Assigned work groups (see below) are researching topics and making plans for reopening regarding a number of specific areas of emphasis, including health services, blended academic courses, semester timelines, residential guidelines, athletics, etc. Each steering committee leader has been tasked with providing a report, with proposed plans and procedures that will mitigate health and safety risks to our campus community. They are also tasked with coordinating the implementation of the reopening plan, while focusing on action items, purchases, timeframes, etc.

Frostburg State, like many other academic institutions, is working tirelessly to thoroughly identify relevant situations and scenarios that may impact our campus community during this viral pandemic. As we continue to craft the necessary next steps, we will be as transparent as possible. Our goal going forward is to maintain frequent communication so that all students, faculty, and staff are informed of our plans for reopening. Although each group below is working on multiple action items — see the summation of plans/priorities from the designated work groups below:

Steering Committee

Reports to President and Senior Leadership Team
  • Jeffrey Graham
  • Sara-Beth Bittinger
  • Lisa Hersch
  • Brad Nixon (chair)