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:


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)

Working Groups (Team Leaders)

  • Academics (Sara-Beth Bittinger)
    • Academic Affairs has adhoc subcommittees made up of various stakeholders from within and outside the division, that generally address policy and recommendations for the Provost to consider related to academics during the pandemic recovery (instruction, facilities, technology and the academic enterprise).
  • ADA/EEO (Benjamin Brauer)
    • The committee will move to a standby role to provide ADA/504 consultation on an as-needed basis for the Fall 2021 semester and beyond.
  • Athletics (Troy Dell)
    • Athletics is continuing to develop a plan for the fall that aligns with State of Maryland, University System of Maryland, Frostburg State University, NCAA, and Mountain East Conference guidelines. Spring 2021 plans will continue follow the evolving guidance of these groups.
    • Information will be shared from the Director of Athletics through ARMS or through coaches to all student-athletes as soon as the university plan evolves. For Spring 2021, we continue to use ARMS and direct contact from coaches to educated and share updates.
    • Student-athletes should be preparing for the 2020-21 season to the highest degree their personal workout situation will allow. Utilized the outdoor weight room all fall. If on campus for Spring 2021, we will enclose and heat this space for February and March.
    • One of the key components of our “Return to Play Plan” will be “Social Responsibility” and strict adherence to recommended guidelines. Student-athletes are strongly encouraged to practice social responsibility at the highest level and lead by example. Spring 2021 will continue to follow this. We will ask students to re-affirm their commitment. MEC has also developed a document that all MEC SA must acknowledge.
  • Communications (Gregg Sekscienski)
    • Updating of information on COVID19 website.
    • Coordination and creation of institutional signage as needed.
    • Creation and production of any specific publications and guides (PDF documents, fliers, handout cards, etc.) as identified by working groups as well as pandemic planning communication updates and coordination.
    • Coordination of messaging as determined for summer and fall (planning).
  • Financial Implications (Denise Murphy)
    • Establish emergency funding for COVID-19-related costs and preventative measures such as inventory – PPE, cleaning and sanitizing supplies, signage/barriers, equipment, training and education (in progress).
    • Expenses related to COVID-19 that are above and beyond normal business will be tracked; they include inventory, labor, training, medical supplies, repairs and maintenance, OT (in progress).
  • Guests on Campus and Campus Events (Allen Flanagan)
    • Visitor guidance is being developed and will be shared and enforced with all visitors on campus (in progress).
    • Meeting and event guidance has been developed and is available online to guide the campus community. Each request for space usage on campus is reviewed to ensure compliance with COVID precautions and requirements.
    • Reduce potential for contact exposure by reducing seating and reconfiguring physical areas, including entrances and exits of campus buildings (complete).
    • Reduce risk of contact exposure and spread of COVID-19 by promoting proper use of PPE, physical distancing, staying safe, and healthy practices. Appropriate posters and directional floor signage has been posted in highly visible areas throughout campus buildings (ongoing).
    • Provide hand sanitizing stations at key entrances to campus buildings (complete).
  • Health (Christina Burke)
    • The Director of Brady Health Services shall coordinate all public health efforts with the Allegany County Health Department and maintain consistent contact, including the implementation of contact tracing (in progress).
    • The health center shall implement specific public health protocols for identifying, triaging, referring, and treating students, including call-ahead triage process to reduce potential contact exposure (in progress).
    • The health center will continue to offer tele-health options for students in appropriate situations to reduce potential of contact exposure (in progress).
    • The health center will coordinate COVID-19 testing protocols as recommended by the CDC, the Maryland Department of Health, and the Allegany County Health Department. Symptomatic students may be tested at the Health Center while asymptomatic students will be referred to other local resources.
    • Continue to inventory and procure adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for health center staff and patients (in progress).
  • Physical Campus (John Brewer)
    • Housekeeping staff will provide cleaning with approved COVID-19 disinfectant and will continue to use electrostatic sprayers and misting systems to combat COVID-19. High touch areas (i.e. restrooms, computers, computer spaces, classrooms will be cleaned frequently (ongoing).
    • The Assistant Director of Facilities will continue to inventory and procure adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff (ongoing).
    • Reduce potential for contact exposure by reducing seating and reconfiguring physical areas, including entrances and exits, in all campus buildings (ongoing). The existing building signage will be checked and replaced if necessary, prior to the start of the semester.
    • Reduce risk of contact exposure and spread of COVID-19 by promoting proper use of PPE, physical distancing, staying safe, and healthy practices. Appropriate posters and directional floor signage has been posted in highly visible areas in all campus buildings
    • Provide hand sanitizing stations and/or dispensers in high traffic areas in all campus buildings (ongoing). Additional stations have been purchased to replace existing stations as needed.
    • Additional housekeeping staff training will be held prior to start of spring term. The latest CDC guidelines and best practices for combatting COVID will be covered.
  • Residence Life (Kimberly Hinds-Brush)
    • The occupancy of the residence halls will be all single rooms to reduce population density and the potential for contact exposure.
    • Implement scheduled check-in dates and processes that reduce contact density and exposure by extending move-in day over a period of one week. Students will be able to sign-up for move days/times based on certain criteria and will be able to have one visitor assist with the move-in (in progress).
    • Residence hall lounges and kitchens will be closed to reduce contact exposure and laundry rooms will be limited to one or two students (depending on size) at a time to reduce density.
    • Guests will be restricted to one person at a time per resident to reduce building density (in progress).
    • All occupants will be required to wear face coverings when moving through any common area.
  • Safety (Marvin Parsons)
    • COVID-19 safety training to include proper PPE, handwashing hygiene, physical distancing, face coverings and symptoms following CDC guidance will be assigned to employees prior to return to campus (ongoing).
    • Review facilities spaces in collaboration with Facilities, Provost’s Office, Registrar and make recommendations regarding strategies to maintain physical distancing and safety (ongoing).
    • Assist Administration & Finance by recommending safety protocols and purchasing guidance for supplies based on committee expertise and external benchmarks (ongoing).
  • Student Life (Rob Cooper)
    • Provide hand sanitizing stations at all entrances to the Lane University Center and at all Student Activities sponsored events.
    • Promote appropriate social distancing, donning of face coverings, and event capacity stipulations based on guidelines from the Governor for all Student and Community Involvement sponsored events.
    • Transform most traditional face-to-face interactions to virtual interactions through consultation on event planning.
    • Reduce potential for contact exposure by reducing seating and reconfiguring physical areas, including entrances and exits, within the Lane University Center.
    • Work with Chartwell’s Food Services to implement environmental engineering controls regarding the movement of constituents in the Lane University Center and Food Services areas.