June 8th, 2020
Garrett College to start limited, appointment-only hours June 15th using phased-in staffing
GC releases Return to Campus Operations Plan emphasizing social distancing, staggered work schedules and intensive cleaning in 'flexible operations' phase
McHenry, MD – Garrett College, as part of Phase 2 of a three-phase Return to Campus Operations Plan, will start gradually bringing employees back to campus for reduced, appointment-only hours beginning Monday, June 15th.
"This is a critical step in moving safely toward full-scale operations," said Garrett College President Richard Midcap in a Monday morning email announcing the plan to college employees. Dr. Midcap emphasized that the only visitors to campus will be those with appointments, and said non-college meetings and events are not part of Phase 2 "flexible operations".
The College's appointment-only hours will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during Phase 2. Visitors will need to call ahead and make appointments with whichever offices they desire in-person services.
Dr. Midcap said the college – which has been in Phase 1 "Emergency Operations" since March – has been planning to move into Phase 2 once state and local officials authorized moving into Stage 2 of Maryland's Roadmap to Recovery Plan for statewide reopening.
"All facets of our Phase 2 align with state and local guidance," said Dr. Midcap, who notified college leadership last Thursday that he was authorizing the phased reopening of the GC campus.
"We've worked with offices to ensure that we can stagger hours and limit face-to-face contact, and our custodial staff has developed an intensive cleaning protocol to ensure a safe environment for both staff and visitors," he said.
Dr. Midcap said the college began resuming face-to-face instruction – both credit and noncredit – on June 5th after submitting a detailed plan on how to safely resume those activities to the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC).
"We had a number of spring credit and Continuing Education & Workforce Development courses that could not be completed without face-to-face instruction," explained Dr. Midcap. "That included Adventure Sports and Natural Resources and Wildlife Technology on the credit side as well as CEWD's paramedic, truck driving, welding, and certified clinical medical assistant programs."
The College earlier announced it plans to resume face-to-face instruction – albeit with drastically reduced class sizes – as part of its fall 2020 academic semester. GC is also planning to reopen its two residence halls, but with one-student-per-bedroom limits that will decrease the occupancy rate to just under 71 percent. In addition to fall instruction and housing, campus leadership is also working on plans to address athletics, dining, and health services.
"Our plans are in line with what other institutions of higher education in the region and across the state with on-campus residence halls are planning for the fall semester," said Dr. Midcap.
The college is also adjusting its fall 2020 semester calendar so that students will finish the semester online, eliminating the need for students to physically return to campus after the Thanksgiving break.
"The final two weeks of the semester will be accomplished online," said Dr. Midcap. "We did not think it was prudent to send students home for Thanksgiving, not knowing where COVID hot spots might arise, and then bring them back to McHenry for two weeks. We can do the final two weeks of the semester online much more safely."
Dr. Midcap expressed his appreciation for the support and assistance of Dr. Cindy Bambara, president of Allegany College of Maryland, and Dr. Ronald Nowaczyk, president of Frostburg State University, during these challenging times.
"Ron, Cindy and I have regular Zoom meetings where we talk about common challenges and any ways our institutions can help one another," said Dr. Midcap. "That's been so valuable. In addition, the ACM and GC executive teams – providing leadership for the only two community colleges in Maryland with on-campus housing – have been meeting on Zoom to help one another. These are just the latest examples I've seen of the collaborations Western Maryland is known for throughout the state."
The most up-to-date information on Garrett College's response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), including the Return to Operations Plan, can be found online at https://www.garrettcollege.edu/corona-virus.php.