Frostburg State University Announces Plans for Spring Semester

Jan 8, 2021 1:05 PM

Frostburg State University will open its spring semester as scheduled on Monday, Jan. 25, similar to the fall 2020 term. Classes will be presented on campus in a blended (mix of online/in-person) format, designed to limit the time and density in classrooms.

This decision was made upon reviewing the COVID indicators that FSU has been monitoring throughout this pandemic. In particular, the positivity rate and case rate in Allegany County is now more consistent with that across the state, and local health-care capacity has improved. FSU has consulted with our local health department on our plans; they confirmed that their contact tracing has not encountered cases of COVID transmission in the classroom.

As the semester progresses, the COVID Steering Committee will continue its constant monitoring of COVID indicators and the additional planned testing events to guide our actions and the University’s status.

Options for Students Not Wanting to Study on Campus

Students have the option of choosing an online semester, but these students MUST choose and enroll in classes listed as online in PAWS or work through the University System of Maryland (USM) inter-institutional enrollment to choose online courses from the University of Maryland Global Campus by Jan. 25. Details about inter-institutional enrollment are available at this link, and UMGC’s spring 2021 course offerings are available at this link. (Using inter-institutional enrollment protects a student’s full-time status for financial aid, veterans, athletes, etc.) Students are instructed to contact their academic advisor or department chair for assistance.

COVID Testing

Testing will be required during the spring semester, consistent with guidance from USM.

To define the testing population, individuals are EXEMPT from COVID-19 testing if they:

  • are taking classes that are all fully online AND not living on campus;
  • are teleworking most of the time and their regular/routine work schedule/week is not on campus;
  • are student-athletes (and being tested through Athletics); or
  • already tested positive for COVID-19 within the previous 90 days.

Students who live on campus, participate in any on-campus classes or events, or use any University spaces during the spring 2021 semester, as well as all faculty and staff who are not teleworking full time, ARE REQUIRED to complete the testing protocols outlined below:

  • At the beginning of the semester, all students, faculty and staff who are not exempt (see above) ARE REQUIRED to be tested. On-campus universal testing for this group, using antigen tests, will be scheduled (details to come). Anyone in this group may choose to submit proof of a negative test result dated up to 14 days before the Jan. 25 start of classes. through www.frostburg.edu/checkin. The test must be taken on or after Jan. 11.
  • For the remainder of the semester, a comprehensive testing schedule (to be announced in the coming weeks) is in development, with the intention to regularly test all students, faculty and staff coming to campus during the semester.
  • Exemptions from testing must follow CDC and state health guidelines and be approved by designated FSU representatives. Those who have tested positive for COVID in the previous 90 days are among those exempted from testing.
  • Student-athletes must also meet the testing guidelines outlined by NCAA, the Mountain East Conference and the FSU Athletics Department.
  • Anyone who is having symptoms should NOT test and should reach out to Brady Health or their provider for testing. (Anyone with severe symptoms, such as chest pain or shortness of breath, should go to an urgent care center or emergency room.)

Daily Check-in

Daily online symptom check-in is required Mondays through Fridays by all students, faculty and staff – regardless of whether they are on campus or not – for the spring 2021 semester. Daily email reminders will be sent through their FSU email account. The link is www.frostburg.edu/checkin). The check-in is not required on weekends unless an individual plans to be on campus.

New features will be added to the check-in portal to allow students, faculty and staff to enter information about COVID infection history since the conclusion of the fall semester and to upload COVID vaccination records.

Social Compact

The Social Compact, which outlines expected behaviors for the campus population in light of the pandemic, is being updated. Students, faculty and staff will be required to read and acknowledge the compact again as they did in the fall.

Vaccinations

USM leadership and its campuses are discussing regularly the potential rollout of the vaccine this spring. USM has been very active in keeping current on state plans and logistics, and FSU has offered to be a point of distribution for the vaccine if asked by the local health department. Our health center employees and other first responders on campus currently have received or will soon be receiving the first dose of the vaccine. Watch for updates on testing and vaccination in the coming weeks.

On-campus Students

Residence hall students will receive information soon directly from the Residence Life Office regarding move-in procedures.

The University has again reserved space at a local hotel for on-campus students to isolate if they are COVID-positive or quarantine if identified as a close contact.

On-campus food locations will continue to provide grab-and-go and advance-ordering options for those who prefer.

Staying Safe

Much has been learned much in the course of this pandemic. Most importantly:

  • Wearing masks
  • Keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from others
  • Washing and sanitizing hands frequently
  • Avoiding social gatherings with people not in your household

These measures are critical to fighting the transmission of the disease. They protect you and they protect those around you, loved ones and strangers alike.

Individual actions will have a significant impact on FSU’s ability to continue offering the best educational experience possible.

As in the fall, students with individual concerns may email spring2021@frostburg.edu to be connected to the appropriate resource. Updates will also come throughout the semester, including in President Ronald Nowaczyk’s weekly emails and on the FSU website at www.frostburg.edu/spring2021.