Communications

Archived Plans

Dear Graduate Students,

Happy new year! I hope you had a restful winter break, and the new year finds you in good health. 

As we have throughout the pandemic, we are using the growing amount of data available on the Omicron variant and its impact on the direction of the pandemic, to adjust our response to COVID for the spring semester. We recognize that Omicron may cause a large number of positive cases in our campus community in the coming weeks, as it is a more contagious variant. Yet the large majority of vaccinated individuals either exhibit no or relatively mild, cold-like symptoms. We have been weighing this information about Omicron along with concerns about providing an optimal educational experience and access to campus resources and support. 

Given all these considerations, as well as updates to CDC guidelines and in consultation with the Frederick County Department of Health, and thanks to your compliance with our protocols, our highly vaccinated community is in good position to return for the start of the semester with some adjustments and additional safety measures, as follows:

  • We will start the semester, as planned, in person on Tuesday, January 25, with accommodations made to ensure students will have access to their classes while they are in quarantine or isolation.
  • All faculty, staff and students are required to be tested within 72 hours of their return to campus or at the on-campus testing, as outlined below. If you had COVID over break, please make sure you have reported it prior to returning to campus via wellness@hood.edu.
  • As announced previously, all students are required to receive a booster within 30 days of their eligibility. Acquiring a booster is the best way to avoid any disruption to your academic and co-curricular activities on campus per the new CDC guidelines (see below).  
  • External visitors will not be able to attend on-campus events through February 4. Employees and students may still attend on-campus events during that time.
  • Starting with breakfast on January 22 through dinner on January 25, all food in the dining hall will be grab & go. Individuals should refrain from eating with others until they have a confirmed negative test result. 
  • We are also changing our recommendations for masking – see below for details.

For the first two weeks of the semester, especially, we need you to use good decision making, including wearing your masks properly, refraining from gathering in large groups inside, and limiting unnecessary trips off campus. With our continued commitment to keeping our community safe, we will be able to have a successful start to the semester with minimal disruption. 

The information below is long and full of important information; I urge you to read it carefully and thoroughly. We also will be sending additional information over the next week about other expected changes to our COVID protocols, including additional surveillance testing, testing notification, our quarantine/isolation processes, and how to register your booster, among others.  It is imperative that you continue to check and read your Hood email. 

All information also can be found on the Spring 2022 COVID website early next week. If you have questions, please email wellness@hood.edu or covidquestions@hood.edu

Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D.
President

  1. TESTING
    All students should limit in-person interactions with others until receiving a negative test result. 

Graduate Students

  • Graduate students* must submit a negative test result, no more than 72 hours before their first class, by uploading it here.
  • Students who are unable to get tested on their own must take part in on-campus testing on January 24 or 25. Commuters should use the links below to sign up for on-campus testing on these days. 
  • All results from on-campus testing will be received by 5 p.m. on the day of the test.
  • Students who are tested on January 25 may not attend class in person until they have a negative test result. 

* The testing requirement does not apply to graduate students enrolled in fully online programs, such as Cybersecurity, IT (Information Technology), Thanatology, and all Education programs. However, any student, online or on-campus, who wishes to access campus resources (e.g., research, tutoring/writing center, the Library & Learning Commons, lectures, forums, commencement) must submit the negative test result via this online form 

  1. MASKS
  • Masks will continue to be required in all campus buildings, including residential hall commons areas, open office spaces and classrooms.
  • The CDC has found that cloth face coverings alone are not as effective in preventing transmission of the Omicron variant. Therefore, we are strongly recommending using 1) KN95 or N95 masks, 2) a disposable surgical mask under a cloth mask, or 3) double-masking with disposable surgical masks, in order of preference.
  • The College will provide one N95 mask to all students, and also will make additional surgical and cotton masks available.
  1. ACADEMICS

·      As stated, for the first week, for students in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19, faculty will use a bimodal teaching format or will record classes for students unable to be in class due to being in isolation or quarantine for COVID-19. Faculty may need to teach fully on-line if they themselves are in quarantine or isolation.

·      Depending on the case rate on campus following the first week, we will determine if additional adjustments to course delivery formats must be made.

  1. DINING HALL
  • Starting with breakfast on January 22 through dinner on January 25, all food in the dining hall will be grab & go. Students are encouraged to limit meals with others until they have a confirmed negative test result due to the removal of masks during meals.
  • The Blazer and Library café will reopen on January 26.
  1. VISITOR POLICY
  • External visitors will not be able to attend on-campus events through February 4. Employees and students may still attend on-campus events and athletic competitions during that time.

·            External visitors are allowed on campus on an individual basis (with the exception of the residence halls) although we discourage this through February 4. All external visitors must comply with our masking policy.

  1. NEW GUIDELINES FOR QUARANTINE/ISOLATION
  • We have updated our Q/I timelines in accordance with the CDC:

               covid

 

  • More information about contact tracing and uploading booster status will be forthcoming.
  • All community members should receive a booster dose as soon as they are eligible. This is a requirement for the spring semester. As shown above, individuals who are up to date on their vaccinations (including booster doses) should have little impact to their academic and social experiences on campus. 

*The vaccine requirement does not apply to graduate students enrolled in fully online programs, such as Cybersecurity, IT (Information Technology), Thanatology, and all Education programs. However, any student, online or on-campus, 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.  

Dear Undergraduate Students,

Happy new year! I hope you had a restful winter break, and the new year finds you in good health. 

As we have throughout the pandemic, we are using the growing amount of data available on the Omicron variant and its impact on the direction of the pandemic, to adjust our response to COVID for the spring semester. We recognize that Omicron may cause a large number of positive cases in our campus community in the coming weeks, as it is a more contagious variant. Yet the large majority of vaccinated individuals either exhibit no or relatively mild, cold-like symptoms. We have been weighing this information about Omicron along with concerns about providing an optimal educational experience and access to campus resources and support. 

Given all these considerations, as well as updates to CDC guidelines and in consultation with the Frederick County Department of Health, and thanks to your compliance with our protocols, our highly vaccinated community is in good position to return for the start of the semester with some adjustments and additional safety measures, as follows:

  • We will start the semester, as planned, in person on Tuesday, January 25, with accommodations made to ensure students will have access to their classes while they are in quarantine or isolation.
  • All faculty, staff and students are required to be tested within 72 hours of their return to campus or at the on-campus testing, as outlined below. If you had COVID over break, please make sure you have reported it prior to returning to campus via wellness@hood.edu.
  • As announced previously, all students are required to receive a booster within 30 days of their eligibility. Acquiring a booster is the best way to avoid any disruption to your academic and co-curricular activities on campus per the new CDC guidelines (see below).  
  • External visitors will not be able to attend on-campus events through February 4. Employees and students may still attend on-campus events during that time.
  • Starting with breakfast on January 22 through dinner on January 25, all food in the dining hall will be grab & go. Individuals should refrain from eating with others until they have a confirmed negative test result. 
  • We are also changing our recommendations for masking – see below for details.

For the first two weeks of the semester, especially, we need you to use good decision making, including wearing your masks properly, refraining from gathering in large groups inside, and limiting unnecessary trips off campus. With our continued commitment to keeping our community safe, we will be able to have a successful start to the semester with minimal disruption. 

The information below is long and full of important information; I urge you to read it carefully and thoroughly. We also will be sending additional information over the next week about other expected changes to our COVID protocols, including additional surveillance testing, testing notification, our quarantine/isolation processes, and how to register your booster, among others.  It is imperative that you continue to check and read your Hood email. 

All information also can be found on the Spring 2022 COVID website early next week. If you have questions, please email wellness@hood.edu or covidquestions@hood.edu

As always, the campus has been too quiet without you here and I look forward to seeing you all soon. Thank you for continuing to do your part to keep our community healthy and together. 

Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D.
President

  1. TESTING

All students should limit in-person interactions with others until receiving a negative test result. 

Residential Students

·      Residential students will return to on-campus housing on January 22 or 23.

·      Students should not return to campus if they are exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms and contact wellness@hood.edu for further instruction.

·      Students are encouraged to receive results from a COVID test as close to return to campus as possible, but no longer than 72 hours before arriving. Test results should be uploaded here.

·      Residential students who are unable to do pre-arrival testing must take part in on-campus testing on January 24, no exceptions

·      We recommend that you have an isolation kit packed and ready to use when you return to campus, including prescription medication, personal items, snacks and study items. 

Commuter Students

·      Commuter students must submit a negative test result, no more than 72 hours before their first class, by uploading it here.

·      Commuter students who are unable to get tested on their own must take part in on-campus testing on January 24 or 25, no exceptions. Commuters should use the links below to sign up for on-campus testing on these days. 

o  January 24, 8-4:45PM. Requests due by 1/21 at noon.

o  January 25, 1-4:45PM. Requests due by 1/21 at noon. 

·      All results from on-campus testing will be received by 5 p.m. on the day of the test. Students who are tested on January 25 may not attend class in person until they have a negative test result. 

  1. MASKS

·      Masks will continue to be required in all campus buildings, including residential hall commons areas, open office spaces and classrooms.

·      The CDC has found that cloth face coverings alone are not as effective in preventing transmission of the Omicron variant. Therefore, we are strongly recommending using 1) KN95 or N95 masks, 2) a disposable surgical mask under a cloth mask, or 3) double-masking with disposable surgical masks, in order of preference.

·      The College will provide one N95 mask to all students, and also will make additional surgical and cotton masks available.

3)   ACADEMICS

·      As stated, for the first week, for students in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19, faculty will use a bimodal teaching format or will record classes for students unable to be in class due to being in isolation or quarantine for COVID-19. Faculty may need to teach fully on-line if they themselves are in quarantine or isolation.

·      Depending on the case rate on campus following the first week, we will determine if additional adjustments to course delivery formats must be made.

4)   DINING HALL

·      Starting with breakfast on January 22 through dinner on January 25, all food in the dining hall will be grab & go. Students are encouraged to limit meals with others until they have a confirmed negative test result due to the removal of masks during meals.

·      The Blazer and Library café will reopen on January 26.

5)   VISITOR POLICY

·      External visitors will not be able to attend on-campus events (e.g., athletic competitions, student activities, lectures) through February 4. Employees and students may still attend on-campus events during that time.

·      Residential students may not have external guests in the residence halls through February 4, except for those individuals who help students during move in. 

·      External visitors are allowed on campus on an individual basis (with the exception of the residence halls) although we discourage this through February 4. All external visitors must comply with our masking policy.

6)   NEW GUIDELINES FOR QUARANTINE/ISOLATION

·      We have updated our Q/I timelines in accordance with the CDC:

 

              covid

 

·      More information on changes to our Q/I protocols is forthcoming.

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Happy new year! I hope you had a restful winter break, and the new year finds you in good health. 

As we have throughout the pandemic, we are using the growing amount of data available on the Omicron variant and its impact on the direction of the pandemic, to adjust our response to COVID for the spring semester. We recognize that Omicron may cause a large number of positive cases in our campus community in the coming weeks, as it is a more contagious variant. Yet the large majority of vaccinated individuals either exhibit no or relatively mild, cold-like symptoms. We have been weighing this information about Omicron along with concerns about providing an optimal educational experience and access to campus resources and support. 

Given all these considerations, as well as updates to CDC guidelines and in consultation with the Frederick County Department of Health, and thanks to your compliance with our protocols, our highly vaccinated community is in good position to return for the start of the semester with some adjustments and additional safety measures, as follows:

  • The Spring Forum, scheduled for January 24, will be moved to virtual. More details to follow.
  • We will start the semester, as planned, in person on Tuesday, January 25, with accommodations made for faculty who need to be remote due to quarantine/isolation for COVID-19 or re-entry testing policies.
  • All faculty, staff and students are required to be tested within 72 hours of their return to campus or at the on-campus testing, as outlined below. If you had COVID over break, please make sure you have reported it prior to returning to campus via wellness@hood.edu.
  • External visitors will not be able to attend on-campus events through February 4. Employees and students may still attend on-campus events and athletic competitions during that time. Faculty and staff are still allowed to host external attendees for meetings and official College business. 
  • Starting with breakfast on January 22 through dinner on January 25, all food in the dining hall will be grab & go. Individuals should limit eating meals with others until they have a confirmed negative test result. 
  • We are also changing our recommendations for masking – see below for details.

 

For the first two weeks of the semester, especially, we need you to use good decision making, be cautious in larger groups and wear your masks properly. With our continued commitment to keeping our community safe, we will be able to have a successful start to the semester with minimal disruption. 

The information below is long and full of important information; I urge you to read it carefully and thoroughly. It is imperative that you continue to check and read your Hood email. 

All information also can be found on the Spring 2022 COVID website early next week. If you have questions, please email wellness@hood.edu or covidquestions@hood.edu.  

Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D.
President

  1. TESTING
  • January 18 will be the last day before the start of the semester for faculty and staff to be tested. (January 24 and 25 will be reserved entirely for returning students.) Sign up for testing here
  • Faculty who are tested on January 18 and do not return to campus within a 72-hour period of receiving the negative test result, should be tested off campus prior to return the week of January 25. 
  • Given the limited availability of off-campus tests, faculty and staff will now be allowed to submit an at-home antigen test to fulfill the re-entry testing requirements. Individuals should read the test instructions carefully, which may mean conducting two tests, 36 hours apart with the second test being within 72 hours to return.
  • All off-campus test results should be uploaded to this online form before returning to campus.  
  1. MASKS
  • Masks will continue to be required in all campus buildings, including residential hall commons areas, open office spaces and classrooms.
  • The CDC has found that cloth face coverings alone are not as effective in preventing transmission of the Omicron variant.
  • We are strongly recommending using KN95 or N95 masks, a disposable surgical mask under a cloth mask, or double masking with disposable surgical masks.
  • The College is in the process of acquiring N95 masks and will make them available to students and employees when they arrive. More information about dissemination of N95 masks will be forthcoming.
  1. ACADEMICS
  • The spring semester will be on campus and in person, making allowances for students or faulty in quarantine and isolation (Q/I).
  • As in the fall, faculty have been asked to teach in a fashion that is bimodal or can be recorded for students unable to be in class due to being in Q/I. Faculty may need to teach fully via Zoom if they are in Q/I.
  • Bimodal or on-line class accommodations are not a long-term alternative and only should be utilized for excused, medical absences.
  • For the first week, we are asking faculty to teach their classes either in a bimodal fashion or to record their classes to accommodate students who may be in Q/I. If you have to be in Q/I, we ask that you teach your course synchronously online if possible.
  • Depending on the case rate on campus following the first week, we will determine if additional adjustments to course delivery formats must be made.
  • The provost will be sending out an email next week with more details as well as communicating expectations to students.
  1. DINING HALL
  • Starting with breakfast on January 22 through dinner on January 25, all food in the dining hall will be grab & go. 
  • The Blazer and Library Café will reopen on January 26.
  1. VISITOR POLICY
  • External visitors will not be able to attend on-campus events (e.g., athletic competitions, student activities, lectures) through February 4. Employees and students may still attend on-campus events during that time.
  • Faculty and staff are still allowed to host external attendees for meetings and official College business.
  1. NEW GUIDELINES FOR QUARANTINE/ISOLATION
  • We have updated our Q/I guidelines in accordance with the CDC:

 

               covid

  • More information about contact tracing and uploading booster status will be forthcoming.
  • All community members should receive a booster dose as soon as they are eligible. This is a requirement for the spring semester. As shown above, individuals who are up to date on their vaccinations (including booster doses) should have little impact to their work and social experiences on campus.

 

 

To Hood Faculty, Staff and Students,

As we all watch the significant and rapid rise in COVID cases due to the Omicron variant, I am sure it is raising questions in your mind, as it is in mine, about what this means for the start of our spring semester. Although I do not yet have those answers, I did want to share our timeline for decision-making. Given the date for the first day of classes and when the majority of residential students will be moving back to campus, our goal is to announce any changes by no later than Thursday, January 13,  although we recognize that subsequent changes may be necessary in response to new developments.  

It is important to note that, as always, we will make these decisions using the same three principles that have guided us through the pandemic to date:

  1. mitigate health risks for the Hood community to the greatest extent possible
  2. adhere to the guidance of public health experts and all applicable legislative policies
  3. strive to fulfill our mission by providing an optimal educational experience for all students

 I appreciate your continued patience and flexibility.  In the meanwhile, please do familiarize yourself with current protocols, including pre-entry testing and required boosters.

Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D.
President

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you all are having a safe and relaxing break.  

As I indicated in my last email, we have continued to monitor the trajectory of the pandemic.  Given the significant increase in cases over the past several days, we have decided to institute a flexible work policy.

As approved by their supervisor, all non-essential employees may return to campus (following a negative on-campus test) on Wednesday, January 5, 12 or 19, working remotely until their return date. If an employee wishes to return on a different day of the week (through January 19), they must provide a negative test administered by a health professional and consult with their supervisor. The protocols we put in place last week – required re-entry testing and mandated vaccines, including boosters, as well as mandatory indoor masking – remain in place.

We will maintain the onsite testing schedule as previously announced, starting on January 4. Please refer to my email from last week below or see the COVID website for more information. If you have any questions, please reach out to wellness@hood.edu or covidquestions@hood.edu.

CERT will continue to monitor and meet, and send regular updates to the campus. Please stay safe.

Happy New Year,


Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D.
President

Dear Students, 

As we have done throughout this pandemic, we have adapted our protocols to the changing course of the pandemic. CERT met yesterday about re-entry testing and the requirement of boosters. My previous message and the Dec. 15 message from the director of wellness are adjusted as follows.

Per the CDC guidelines, everyone age of 18+ should get a vaccine booster shot as soon as they are eligible, and Hood will now require that all students, faculty and staff (including contractors and adjunct faculty) receive a vaccine booster shot  within 30 days of becoming eligible. We are exploring a new COVID tracking software that will be implemented in January 2022 and all community members should wait for more information on how to submit their booster verification The same exceptions are allowable. If already approved for vaccine exemption, you do not need to reapply for a booster exemption.

While more details are forthcoming, I do want to strongly encourage anyone who has not already gotten one to act now and get a booster while on break. Additionally, we will host an on-campus booster clinic on Friday, January 7. Pre-registration is required here. Subsequent on-campus booster clinics will be scheduled throughout the spring semester.

Residential Students: 

  • All residential students are encouraged to be tested on their own within 72 hours of their return to campus. Off-campus testing must be administered by a trained health professional and uploaded to this online form. Results from self-test kits will not be accepted. 
  • If a residential student cannot obtain a test on their own before move-in, they must participate in on-campus surveillance testing on Monday, January 24 between 8 a.m. and 4:45 p.m.  

Commuter Students:  

  • All commuter students must provide proof of a negative test administered within 72 hours of their return to campus. Off-campus testing must be administered by a trained health professional and uploaded to this online form. Results from self-test kits will not be accepted. 
  • If a commuter student cannot obtain a test on their own before their return, they must participate in on-campus surveillance testing on Monday, January 24 from 8 a.m. through 4:45 p.m. OR Tuesday, January 25 from 1 to 4:45 p.m.

Graduate StudentsEnrolled in On-Campus Classes

  • All graduate students registered for on-campus classes/jobs/research must provide proof of a negative test administered within 72 hours of their return to campus. Off-campus testing must be administered by a trained health professional and uploaded to this online form. Results from self-test kits will not be accepted.
  • If a graduate student is unable to be tested on their own, they must participate in on-campus surveillance testing on Monday, January 24 from 8AM-4:45PM OR Tuesday, January 25 from 12-4:45PM. You do not need an appointment and can drop in for either date.

Students being tested on Tuesday should notify their professors that they are unable to attend classes until they receive their negative test. Students who do not comply with the re-entry testing requirements will be referred to the dean of students or dean of the Graduate School for disciplinary action. 

We are also exploring with Frederick Health increased surveillance testing among our campus population to include a random sample of vaccinated individuals. We strongly encourage checking email during break for any messages from the president or the director of wellness as we monitor the situation.

Lastly, as mentioned above, we are exploring a new COVID data tracking software which will replace the existing vaccine verification form. When implemented, community members will need to resubmit their vaccine data. More details are forthcoming, and we appreciate your flexibility and support as we improve our data management.

As we have done since the start of the pandemic, our protocols have sought to minimize the risk of covid on campus and our success has relied on ongoing compliance from each member of our caring and supportive community. Remember, stronger together!

Best,

Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D.
President

Dear Faculty and Staff, 

As we have done throughout this pandemic, we have adapted our protocols to the changing course of COVID-19, and we appreciate your continued flexibility and patience as we navigate an often uncertain and rapidly changing environment. CERT met yesterday to discuss current conditions and have made adjustments to our plans, as discussed below.

Per the CDC guidelines, everyone age of 18+ should get a vaccine booster shot as soon as they are eligible. Accordingly, Hood will require that all students, faculty and staff (including contractors and adjunct faculty) receive a vaccine booster shot within 30 days of becoming eligible. We are exploring a new COVID tracking software that will be implemented in January 2022 and all community members should wait for more information on how to submit their booster verification. If already approved for vaccine exemption due to medical or sincerely held religious or spiritual beliefs, you do not need to reapply for a booster exemption at this time.

We will host an on-campus booster clinic on Friday, January 7. Pre-registration for the on-campus clinic is required here. Booster doses are also available through the Frederick Health Department’s community clinics or at local pharmacies.

CERT has also modified our re-entry plans following winter break. As stated previously, all employees are required to provide proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours before their first time on campus after winter break, regardless of their vaccination status.

Specifically, community members SHOULD work remotely until they have a negative test result. Anyone returning to work the week of Jan. 3 should work remotely and only come to campus on Jan. 4 to be tested and then continue working from home until you receive a negative test result. This same protocol should be followed for all employees returning later in the month. On-campus testing will be available on Tuesday afternoons throughout the month of January:

If you wish to be tested on your own, tests must be administered by a trained health professional and uploaded to this online form. Results from self-test kits will not be accepted.

Employees who do not comply with the re-entry testing requirements will be suspended without pay until they are in compliance.

We are also exploring increased weekly surveillance testing among our campus population, regardless of vaccination status. CERT will continue to monitor the situation and CDC guidance and make additional changes to our spring protocols, as necessary. Please regularly check your Hood College email during break for any additional updates.

Lastly, as mentioned above, we are exploring a new COVID data tracking software which will replace the existing vaccine verification form. When implemented, community members will need to resubmit their vaccine data. More details are forthcoming, and we appreciate your flexibility and support as we improve our data management. 

As we have done since the start of the pandemic, we will continually modify and adapt our protocols to minimize the risk of COVID on campus. Our success been due to your adherence to these protocols and the care and support we have shown each other. Remember, stronger together!

Thank you for your patience and commitment to doing your part to keep our campus safe and healthy.

Best,

Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D.
President

Dear Hood Community,

This week, like the County, we have seen a sharp rise in the number of positive cases on campus. The good news is that almost all are vaccinated and are either exhibiting only mild symptoms or are asymptomatic. We are thankful that nearly all community members have been fully vaccinated, which has helped to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on-campus. We strongly encourage all who are eligible to receive their booster dose as soon as they are able. Amanda Dymek, director of wellness, has been in contact with the Frederick County Department of Health to determine appropriate next steps.

What happens next?

  • All identified cases have been moved to isolation.
  • Contact tracing is nearly complete and is showing no transmission through academic settings.
  • If you are a close contact, you have been, or will very shortly be, notified.

How can I be tested?

  • If you are experiencing symptoms, contact your health provider to be tested.
  • If you don’t have symptoms and want to be included in surveillance testing on Tuesday, November 16, email wellness@hood.edu no later than 10 a.m. on Monday, November 15. Be sure to include your full name and date of birth. Information on other nearby testing locations can be found on the Health Department’s website.

How can I help protect the community?

  • We’ll be holding a vaccine clinic on campus next Thursday, November 18, from 1-3PM in the Whitaker atrium. You can receive a first, second, or third (booster) dose of either Pfizer or Moderna. There are limited doses available so please sign up for an appointment here.
  • Remember our basic steps from last year
    • H – Hide your face; wear your mask, correctly and at all times indoors
    • O – Optimal temperature; monitor your symptoms
    • O – Over wash your hands
    • D – Distance yourself; use social distancing

This is a bump in the road and one that we’ve hit before. I have every faith in this community to rally and keep this recent spike in cases contained. If you have any questions, you can email wellness@hood.edu or covidquestions@hood.edu.

Best,

Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D.
President

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