Communications

Archived Plans

Hello Hood Students,  

There have been numerous reports in the past two weeks of students not complying with the College’s universal, indoor mask mandate. According to the CDC, universal masking in areas with high rates of community transmission, such as Frederick County, remains a highly effective means to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 especially when combined with other protective measures, such as vaccination and good hand hygiene. Masks should fit snuggly across the nose, chin and sides of the face. Watch this video for demonstration on how to properly wear a mask.  

When should masks be worn? 

  • Inside any campus building including but not limited to the library, fitness center and Gambrill gym, hallways/lounges of residence halls, classrooms etc.  

  • Masks should be worn indoors even if sitting alone at a desk, chair or table.  

  • Masks do not need to be worn while eating, drinking, bathing or other such activities where it is not possible to be masked.  

  • Hood College Athletics is following the NCAA’s Sport Science Institute guidelines for NCAA athletic competition but is following campus policies for open gyms and intramural games.  

What happens if I do not comply with the College’s mask policy? 

Students who do not comply with the College’s mask mandate will be removed from indoor buildings and forwarded to the Student Conduct Committee for judicial review. If a student repeatedly violates any College policy, they may be removed from the College.  

When will the universal, indoor mask mandate be lifted? 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have monitored daily the external and internal factors that may impact on-campus response to COVID-19. We will continue to monitor community transmission rates in Frederick County and once they recede to a low or moderate level, we will consider lifting the universal, indoor mask mandate on campus.  At that time, we will also consider on-campus metrics such as number of cases and number of quarantines to further inform the decision to lift the mask mandate.  

What should I do if I have been exposed to someone with COVID or think I may have COVID? 

Students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested immediately, regardless of vaccination status and should not attend classes until they receive a negative test result, and their symptoms improve. Students with symptoms can be tested at the Hood College Health Center or at the drive through testing site in Frederick. Students should also contact wellness@hood.edu as soon as possible so additional information and support can be provided.  

We know our community is committed to a successful academic and social year as shown in the strong vaccination rates (95%!!) among students. We appreciate your continued adherence to all campus policies! 

Stay well,  

Amanda 

Amanda Rzepkowski
Director of Wellness

Dear Hood Community, 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have monitored daily the external factors that may impact on-campus response to COVID-19. Unfortunately, today, Frederick County moved from “moderate” risk of transmission to “substantial.” At that level of transmission in the community, regardless of vaccination status, the CDC recommends that individuals wear masks indoors in public spaces. Although our on-campus vaccination rates greatly exceed those in the county (see below), emerging evidence indicates vaccinated individuals can transmit the virus and, although rare and much less severe in symptoms, some breakthrough infections have been documented. In order to prioritize the health and safety of our community, effective immediately, we are reinstating a mask mandate on campus for all faculty, staff and students, as well as visitors. Specifically, masks should be worn in all campus buildings regardless of vaccination status. We are still working through the details and will share more information as soon as possible. In the meantime, should you have any questions, please send to covidquestions@hood.edu. It is important to note that both the CDC and the FCHD do not recommend changing any other COVID protocols (such as frequency of surveillance testing or social distancing) as delineated in the Promise of Fall at this time. 

On a more positive note, I have good news to share regarding the vaccination rate on campus. We had 100 percent compliance from faculty and staff at the July 31 deadline, with 93 percent reporting they are fully vaccinated. Student vaccination rates are following the same trend. Amanda Rzepkowski, director of wellness, is confirming all submissions and is following up where additional information is needed. Currently, the vaccination rate for those undergraduates who have reported is approximately 95 percent, with an additional 15 percent of undergraduate students still in process. Approximately 60 percent of graduate students have reported, and we are still calculating that vaccination rate. Since these rates indicate we will substantially surpass the recommended threshold for herd immunity, we are well-positioned for a healthy, on-campus experience this fall.  

As we have learned since March 2020, we must be ready to adapt our plans as necessary. In turn, I thank each of you for your flexibility and patience, as well as your continued adherence to our protocols. 

Best,

Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D.
President

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Greetings! We remain focused on our promise of fall – the commitment to offer a positive, near-normal experience for our students. Considering student and faculty feedback on last year’s academic experience, along with guidance from the Frederick County Department of Health and our partners at Frederick Health, we are happy to share the following information on what to expect for the fall semester. 

There is a lot of important information with which you are expected to be familiar; please take the time to read through this email and the Promise of Fall website.

The Highlights

  • It is important for us to have the complete picture of vaccinations on campus to move forward with the Promise of Fall. 
  • The deadline to submit vaccination information is Saturday, July 31. Faculty and staff are required to submit their vaccination status or sign a declination form by July 31 or face suspension without pay. Contact Meg Timmons in HR with any questions, timmons@hood.edu
  • Faculty and staff are reporting a vaccination rate of more than 90 percent!  
  • Orientation (including move-in dates) for first-year and transfer students and sophomores can be found on the Orientation page.
  • Blazer athletics will compete with regularly scheduled practices and competitions. Spectators are allowed so be sure to cheer the Blazers on to victory! 
  • The Learning Commons first floor will have 24-hour access, Sunday through Wednesday.

Testing

  • All unvaccinated individuals (students with an approved exemption and faculty/staff who have declined to disclose their vaccination status) are required to participate in weekly surveillance testing beginning Tuesdays in August through December or to provide a negative test from a community site. 

Masks

  • Given lower community transmission rates in the state and county, Hood College has not imposed a universal mask policy at this time. However, guidance from the CDC, local and state agencies is reviewed daily, and, given recent increases in COVID nationwide, this policy may change in the near future.
  • Vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a mask indoors or outdoors but are encouraged to continue wearing one while indoors if that is the best health decision for themselves. 
  • Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to wear masks inside all campus buildings to protect themselves and the greater Hood community against the spread of the virus.
  •  All community members are encouraged to always carry a mask with them. Visitors to individual offices are required to wear a mask if requested by the office occupant. We encourage all community members to wear masks if requested by another community member.
  •  Individuals who need a mask can pick one up from the director of wellness’ office in Apple 4.

The Academic Experience

  • All courses will resume their pre-pandemic formats. 
  • All undergraduate classes will be delivered on campus as per the day, time and room assignment posted in the fall 2021 course schedule. 
  • All graduate classes will resume either on campus, hybrid, or online delivery as per the course format designation and graduate school guidelines. 

 

  • All dining locations will be open and resume pre-pandemic operations, including self-service stations and increased seating in the Coblentz Dining Hall.
  • The Grab & Go station and to-go containers will remain. Aramark has also added a number of touchless food and drink delivery machines for juice and condiments.

On Monday, August 2, we will be fully back on campus and busy preparing for the return of our students. To celebrate this opportunity to be together again, please join us for an ice cream social on the Quad, 2-3 p.m. 

We are all very excited for a return to near-normal operations. This will be possible if we all commit to adhering to these protocols. Please contact covidquestions@hood.edu with any questions. Enjoy the remainder of the summer and we look forward to seeing you soon.

 

Dear Graduate Students,

Greetings! We remain focused on our promise of fall – the commitment to offer a positive, near-normal experience for you. Considering student and faculty feedback on last year’s academic experience, along with guidance from the Frederick County Department of Health and our partners at Frederick Health, we are happy to share the following information on what to expect when you return to campus. 

There is a lot of important information with which you are expected to be familiar; please take the time to read through this email and the Promise of Fall website.

The Highlights

  • It is important for us to have the complete picture of vaccinations on campus to move forward with the Promise of Fall. 
  • The deadline to submit vaccination information is Saturday, July 31. If your information is not submitted, you will be unenrolled from your classes. 
  • The vaccine requirement does not apply to graduate students enrolled in fully online programs, however, any student who wishes to access campus resources (e.g., research, tutoring/writing center, the Library & Learning Commons, lectures, forums, commencement) must submit the required documentation via this secure form
  • If any student, whether local or abroad, needs support scheduling a vaccination appointment, please reach out to wellness@hood.edu immediately. Hood will help local and international students schedule a free vaccination appointment in Frederick.
  • Students with an approved exemption will be required to participate in entry testing and will receive an invitation to required surveillance testing each week.
  • The Learning Commons first floor will have 24-hour access, Sunday through Wednesday.

Testing

  • All unvaccinated students (students with an approved exemption and faculty/staff who have declined to disclose their vaccination status) are required to participate in entry testing upon arrival to campus for the fall semester. Graduate students who have an approved exemption or are in process of becoming fully vaccinated will be required to participate in weekly surveillance testing beginning August 24. Weekly testing will be held on Tuesday and continue through the end of the semester in December.

Masks

  • Given lower community transmission rates in the State and county, Hood College will not impose a universal mask policy at this time. However, guidance from the CDC, local and State agencies is reviewed daily along with campus level data, and given recent increases in COVID nationwide, this policy may change in the near future.
  • Vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a mask indoors or outdoors but are encouraged to continue wearing one while indoors if that is the best health decision for themselves.
  • Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to wear masks inside all campus buildings to protect themselves and the greater Hood community against the spread of the virus.
  • All community members are encouraged to always carry a mask with them. Visitors to individual offices are required to wear a mask if requested by the office occupant. We encourage all community members to wear masks if requested by another community member.
  • Individuals who need a mask can pick one up from the director of wellness’ office in Apple 4. 

The Academic Experience

  • All courses will resume their pre-pandemic formats. 
  • All graduate classes will resume either on campus, hybrid, or online delivery as per the course format designation and Graduate School guidelines. 

The Campus Experience

  • All dining locations will be open and resume pre-pandemic operations, including self-service stations and increased seating in the Coblentz Dining Hall.
  • The Grab & Go station and to-go containers will remain. Aramark has also added a number of touchless food and drink delivery machines for juice and condiments.

We are all very excited for a return to near-normal operations. This will be possible if we all commit to adhering to these protocols. Please contact covidquestions@hood.edu with any questions. Enjoy the remainder of the summer and we look forward to seeing you soon.

 

Dear Undergraduate Students,

Greetings! We remain focused on our promise of fall – the commitment to offer a positive, near-normal experience for you. Considering student and faculty feedback on last year’s academic experience, along with guidance from the Frederick County Department of Health and our partners at Frederick Health, we are happy to share the following information on what to expect when you return to campus. 

There is a lot of important information with which you are expected to be familiar; please take the time to read through this email and the Promise of Fall website.

The Highlights

  • It is important for us to have the complete picture of vaccinations on campus to move forward with the Promise of Fall. 
  • The deadline to submit vaccination information is Saturday, July 31. If your information is not submitted, you will not be permitted to move in and/or will be unenrolled from your classes.
  • If any student, whether local or abroad, needs support scheduling a vaccination appointment, please reach out to wellness@hood.edu immediately. Hood can help local and international students schedule a free vaccination appointment in Frederick. 
  • Students with an approved exemption will be required to participate in entry testing and will receive an invitation to required surveillance testing each week.
  • Orientation (including move-in dates) for first-year and transfer students and sophomores are outlined on the Orientation page.
  • Student clubs and activities can operate at full capacity. Check Pergola Connect for an updated schedule of events.
  • Blazer athletics will compete with regularly scheduled practices and competitions. Spectators are allowed so be sure to cheer the Blazers on to victory!
  • The Learning Commons first floor will have 24-hour access, Sunday through Wednesday. 

Testing

  • All unvaccinated students (students with an approved exemption and faculty/staff who have declined to disclose their vaccination status) are required to participate in entry testing upon arrival to campus for the fall semester. Students who have an approved exemption or are in process of becoming fully vaccinated will be required to participate in weekly surveillance testing beginning August 24. Weekly testing will be held on Tuesday and continue through the end of the semester in December.

Masks

  • Given lower community transmission rates in the state and county, Hood College has not imposed a universal mask policy at this time. However, guidance from the CDC, local and state agencies is reviewed daily, and, given recent increases in COVID nationwide, this policy may change in the near future.
  • Vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a mask indoors or outdoors but are encouraged to continue wearing one while indoors if that is the best health decision for themselves.
  • Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to wear masks inside all campus buildings to protect themselves and the greater Hood community against the spread of the virus.
  • All community members are encouraged to always carry a mask with them. Visitors to individual offices are required to wear a mask if requested by the office occupant. We encourage all community members to wear masks if requested by another community member.
  • Individuals who need a mask can pick one up from the director of wellness’ office in Apple 4. 
  •  

The Academic Experience

  • All courses will resume their pre-pandemic formats. 
  • All undergraduate classes will be delivered on campus as per the day, time and room assignment posted in the fall 2021 course schedule. 

The Campus Experience

  • All dining locations will be open and resume pre-pandemic operations, including self-service stations and increased seating in the Coblentz Dining Hall.
  • The Grab & Go station and to-go containers will remain. Aramark has also added a number of touchless food and drink delivery machines for juice and condiments.
  • Residential students are welcome to have guests following the normal visitor policy outlined in the Student Handbook.
  • The student engagement staff is excited to provide a full schedule of programming for the fall semester. Check Pergola Connect for an updated schedule of events.
  • Blazer athletics will compete with normal practices and competitions. We will continue to follow the guidelines of the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Sport Science Institute (SSI). 
  • Intramurals will be offered starting in September and will follow the same protocols developed for student-athletes.
  • Fans will be permitted to attend games as usual for indoor and outdoor competitions.

We are all very excited for a return to near-normal operations. This will be possible if we all commit to adhering to these protocols. Please contact covidquestions@hood.edu with any questions. Enjoy the remainder of the summer and we look forward to seeing you soon.

 

Dear Students,

A year ago, we were planning for an academic year unlike any other. There were many who doubted we would make it, but with your dedication and hard work, we did. The reward is a return to near normal for the upcoming year. 

The return to near normal depends on you! All students must be vaccinated (or approved for a medical or religious exemption) and report their vaccination status by July 31. Each Wednesday between now and the end of the month, all students who have uploaded their vaccination information will be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card.

The faculty/staff vaccination rate is 92 percent, however reported student vaccination rates are much lower and need to drastically increase in order to reach the College’s herd immunity goal. Assuming we reach an 80 percent vaccination rate of all campus constituents, we will have very few COVID restrictions in place and will be able to return to pre-pandemic activities, including:

  • On-campus events
  • Visitors to campus
  • Optional masks
  • No social distancing
  • All on-campus classes (with the exception of some graduate programs)

Weekly surveillance testing will be required of all who are not vaccinated due to an approved medical or religious exemption. For those who are vaccinated, quarantine is no longer necessary if exposed to COVID-19. The full “Promise of Fall Plan” will be posted online by the end of July. 

Important Dates for the Start of Fall

  • July 7, 6:30 p.m. - Community Conversation on COVID-19 Vaccines, Facebook Live 
  • July 17, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. – Community Vaccination Clinic, Whitaker Campus Center
  • August 7, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. – Community Vaccination Clinic, Whitaker Campus Center
  • August 17 – Fall student-athletes move in
  • August 18 – New students’ orientation and move in
  • August 19 – Optional sophomore orientation programming
  • August 21 – New transfer move in
  • August 21-22 – Returning students move in
  • August 22, 5 p.m. – Convocation
  • August 23 – First day of class and the beginning of Welcome Week programming
  • August 25, 4-6 p.m. – All-campus pep rally to unveil the new athletic identity

 

Sincerely,

Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D.
President

Dear Faculty and Staff,

We are in the final weeks before some of our colleagues begin to transition back to campus full-time. Officially, the current work accommodation ends on July 18, although employees are encouraged to begin their transition as soon as they want. By Monday, August 2, all employees will be back on campus, readying for the fall semester and our students’ return. 

We recognize the challenges that the return-to-campus policy may present, and we will work to provide resources to assist with the transition. EAP is available to our benefit-eligible employees and their household family members. This is a free, confidential resource available 24/7. Please view details on how to access these services here

In the spirit of intentionally maintaining and encouraging relationship building, while meeting the needs of our employees, the College has revised its current telecommuting guidelines for fall 2021 based on feedback from employees and the technology available that now allows us to better meet the needs of our students and employees in multiple environments. Accommodations may be requested by completing this form.

The full “Promise of Fall Plan” will be posted online by the end of July. My thanks to the many helping hands who have reviewed and edited the New Horizon Plan to bring us to this point. Assuming we reach an 80 percent vaccination rate of all campus constituents (allowing for a few medical or spiritual accommodations), we will have very few COVID restrictions in place and will be able to return to pre-pandemic activities, including:

  • On-campus events
  • Visitors to campus
  • Optional masks
  • No social distancing
  • All on-campus classes (with the exception of some graduate programs)

While the faculty/staff vaccination rate is 92 percent, the students have been a little slower to report and we currently have about 25 percent of students reporting their vaccination status. A reminder that all faculty and staff must report their vaccination status or complete the declination form no later than Saturday, July 31. A failure to comply with this requirement will result in suspension without pay, effective August 1. Thank you to all who have reported thus far!

Weekly surveillance testing beginning August 3 will be required of all who are not vaccinated (or have not reported their vaccination status by signing the declination form). For those who are vaccinated, quarantine is no longer necessary if exposed to COVID-19.

Important Dates for the Start of Fall

  • July 7, 6:30 p.m. - Community Conversation on COVID-19 Vaccines, Facebook Live
  • July 17, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. -- Community Vaccination Clinic, Whitaker Campus Center
  • August 2, 2 p.m. – Plan to gather on the Quad for a real Hood Hello with one another and enjoy a cold treat
  • August 7, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. -- Community Vaccination Clinic, Whitaker Campus Center
  • August 16, 9 a.m.-noon – Fall Forum
  • August 17 – Fall student-athletes move in
  • August 18 – New students’ orientation and move in
  • August 19 – Optional sophomore orientation programming
  • August 21 – New transfer move in
  • August 21-22 – Returning students move in
  • August 22, 5 p.m. – Convocation
  • August 23 – First day of class and the beginning of Welcome Week programming
  • August 25 – All-campus pep rally to unveil the new athletic identity

A year ago, we were planning for an academic year unlike any other. There were many who doubted we would make it. I can’t express my gratitude enough for all that you did to support our students and keep our community healthy and safe. 

Sincerely,

Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D.
President