Feb 10: Weekly Update from President Nowaczyk

Feb 10, 2021 4:15 PM

Good afternoon,

Here are some updates for this week.

Test Twice a Week, Every Week

I have been encouraged by the response to the expanded COVID testing protocol, which has ALL students and employees regularly on campus testing twice every week. (The protocol, instructions and exemptions are described at this link.) Our testing process has been running smoothly, with much credit due to those involved in organizing it. For this plan to be successful and support our semester in the format that we have now, ongoing participation is critical. Plan to make testing twice each week part of your semester (once on Monday or Tuesday and once on Thursday or Friday), just as we have been adapted to wearing masks, keeping a 6-foot distance from others, washing our hands and daily symptom monitoring using the Check-in Portal.

Federal COVID Funding for Students

The first payments of $375 to students who received these funds for housing in the fall and are eligible for federal financial aid are starting to be paid out this week, and checks are being mailed out for those who did not use electronic deposit. Applications for those who did not receive the funds last semester but are seeking them this spring are being processed. You can still apply at this link. (You must qualify for federal financial aid to be eligible.) These applications will still take another week or so to be processed and the funds sent out.

We still are working through the details of eligibility and criteria for the second round of federal stimulus funds. Watch your email for those details in the coming weeks. Thanks to the SGA leadership for their help in determining these priorities.

Vaccines

Faculty, staff and student employees should watch for and complete a survey this week so we will be ready to provide COVID vaccines on campus if and when they become available. This is an expansion of the survey sent before the semester for those interested t in receiving the vaccine if it were offered on-campus (open exclusively to University employees). This action is consistent with the current Maryland COVID vaccine phase.

Completing this form DOES NOT create an appointment to be vaccinated, but it will allow us to contact you once vaccinations are available to universities. We do not have a timeline for when we may be able to offer this.

Because of this uncertainty, if you can qualify for a vaccine through another outlet, please take that opportunity. I have. At present, Walgreens has begun to accept local appointments, and the state health department website offers contacts with the local health department and Martin's Pharmacy at https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/vaccine. Follow local news reports for other opportunities as well.

Student Technology Needs: As we are still using a blended course teaching model, we want to make sure all students have access to the hardware and internet access they need. The Office of Information Technology has some limited resources to assist those who have no other way to participate. Please send an email to spring2021@frostburg.edu if you have specific needs.

Answer the Call

The Allegany County Health Department has asked us to remind our campus community of the importance of everyone participating in contact tracing to slow the spread of COVID. If you receive a call from MD COVID, 240-466-4488, or 301-759-5000, ANSWER THE CALL, for your own good and for the good of our community. This call will be from a public health professional calling with important news about your test result or potential exposure to COVID-19. This cooperation continues to be crucial in stemming the spread of the disease, especially as more contagious variants spread across the U.S.

Contact tracers will ask for verification of your date of birth, address and any other phone numbers you may have. They will NOT as for financial information, money, passwords, photos, etc., or any personal details that are not related to COVID-19. More information can be found at this link.

They also remind anyone who has tested positive and/or is exhibiting symptoms to seek medical advice, even if your symptoms are not severe. Call the Brady Health Center at 301-687-4310 (for students), your own healthcare provider or an urgent care center. (In particular, consult urgent care or an emergency room for severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath.) This includes if you had COVID previously and symptoms return. Here is more guidance from the CDC at this link.

Stay safe. Wear your mask.

Ronald Nowaczyk, PhD
President