May 21st, 2020
Garrett College plans to resume on-campus courses
Modified policies, procedures being developed to safeguard staff, students
Garrett College announced Tuesday evening it envisions a return to on-campus classes for the Fall 2020 semester.
"I'm pleased to report that our Board of Trustees plans to return to on-campus classes," said Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College's president. "The faculty, staff and administration are working on a comprehensive plan so that our return to on-campus instruction is done in a manner that safeguards the health of our students and employees."
Like colleges and universities across the nation, Garrett College transitioned to an all-online instructional platform in response to the coronavirus pandemic for the second half of the spring semester. The College had already planned an all-online summer semester well before the pandemic.
"Our goal from the moment we shifted to an all-online format was to be prepared to return to an on-campus environment for the fall semester," said Midcap. "We will make sure our return plan aligns with any of Governor [Larry] Hogan's executive orders that remain in place as well as CDC [Centers for Disease Control] guidance."
Midcap lauded the efforts of faculty, staff and students to finish the spring semester in an online format.
"Our faculty and staff moved quickly to ensure instruction and student support could continue online this spring," said Midcap. "And our students – many of whom had not previously taken any online courses – worked hard to adapt to that environment."
Midcap said faculty and staff are working on a plan that will include lower course section limits to promote social distancing and enhanced cleaning procedures and other mitigation strategies.
"We're currently engaged in comprehensive planning for the fall semester," said Midcap. "Our cross-divisional college leadership team is meeting twice weekly to work out details such as optimal class sizes to encourage social distancing, acquisition of PPE [personal protective equipment] and appropriate daily cleaning protocols, including between classes. Our faculty is working on how they plan to deliver academic programming with reduced room caps.
"While we are planning to return to campus, we are also preparing to respond should there be another virus surge that interrupts face-to-face instruction and other activities," added Midcap. "Our top priority is to ensure safe operations of the college."
Midcap indicated employees are excited about the impending return to on-campus operations.
"I've had many employees tell me how much they miss face-to-face interaction with our students," said Midcap. "And I feel the same way."
College employees, who have been working from home since March, will start to return to campus in a phased-in approach that aligns with the state's Roadmap to Recovery plan and other state directives. The fall semester starts September 9th.
The most up-to-date information on Garrett College's response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), can be found online at https://www.garrettcollege.edu/covid-19.