August 4, 2020
Dear MICA community members,
I am writing to share that, despite best intentions and efforts, MICA will not reopen the campus per the plan announced on July 6. Instead, our Fall 2020 semester will be delivered in online mode and the physical campus will remain closed.
MICA has been diligently observing a set of key principles while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, with the top priority being the health, safety, and wellness of our campus members. We have also been making decisions based on the best information available while thinking through multiple scenarios, in order to adapt agilely and act responsibly. It is in adherence to these principles that we have made the very difficult decision to keep the campus closed this fall. No decision has been made regarding the Spring 2021 semester at this time.
The public health crisis has escalated in recent weeks with alarming speed in our nation, region, and our own city of Baltimore. As the U.S. approaches 5 million coronavirus cases, Dr. Deborah Birx who oversees the White House COVID-19 response warned on August 2 that the nation had reached a new and more widespread phase of the pandemic. On July 29, the State of Maryland, which has seen a surge in coronavirus cases among people between ages 20 and 39, expanded mask-wearing mandates and announced state travel restrictions. And on July 24, Baltimore’s rising COVID-19 positivity rate reached a seven-day average for new cases per day of 126. In comparison, on July 5, it was 67. At the previous peak in May, it was 124.
This reality is in stark contrast to the much more promising trends in health metrics in May and June that supported campus reopening for Fall 2020. Given these changed public health circumstances, a fully online Fall 2020 term becomes our only responsible choice. The extraordinary work accomplished by our faculty and staff to ready MICA for a fall reopening will help advance our planning for an on-campus Spring 2021 semester.
The Fall 2020 semester will begin as scheduled on August 31, with all classes delivered in online mode. Students who have a significant housing-related hardship can request permission to stay on-campus this Fall in limited numbers. Such residential students will also attend courses online.
The shift in reopening plan has been shared here as soon as it was made so that students and families who were planning for campus arrival can adjust their travel arrangements immediately. While this difficult decision will disappoint those who were looking forward to an on-campus experience this fall, MICA is a resilient and creative community that will make this online semester an exciting one.
I hope that the specific information at the end of this message will answer for students and families some of your immediate questions. A number of outstanding issues are still being worked out over the next few days, and a more fulsome set of information and FAQs will be posted on our website shortly thereafter.
Additionally, to further provide the MICA community with the information and support needed for your adjustments to the new Fall 2020 plan, we will conduct these meetings:
- Info Sessions for Students and Families
- New Undergraduates: First-Year* and Transfers – Tuesday, August 11, Noon
- *First-Year International (FYI) students met recently and do not need to attend.
- Returning Undergraduates – Tuesday, August 11, 7 p.m.
- All Graduate Students – Thursday, August 13, 10 a.m.
- Town Halls for Employees
- Town Hall for Faculty – Tuesday or Wednesday, August 11/12, time TBA
- Town Hall for Staff – Tuesday, August 11, 10 a.m.
Questions for these meetings can be submitted in advance through registration for the events. Detailed information will be distributed and posted on the MICA website for each audience after each session. Please watch out for the invitations.
I close by thanking you for your understanding that this decision reflects our overarching commitment to protect your health and safety.
I also thank the numerous campus members who, over the past 3 months, have prepared tirelessly to bring our community back on campus and the MICA experience into new and innovative modes of teaching and learning. Because of your excellent work, we have made tremendous advances in our online curriculum and our ability to support students and faculty in this new environment. We stand ready to safely reopen the MICA campus when the public health conditions allow us to do so.
We look forward to welcoming all our new and continuing students when we begin classes on August 31. In the meantime, I send my continued best wishes to all for you and your loved ones’ health and safety.
Fall 2020 Course Schedules and Final Registration
- On or after August 10, please confirm your enrollment and, if needed, adjust your fall schedule through the online registration system.
- You may continue to add/drop based on your individual preferences until the add deadline, September 7.
- Contact your academic advisor to discuss any questions you may have regarding your degree plan and academic progress. The academic advising team will continue to be available for individual student appointments through Zoom, and will continue to monitor and respond to email communication regularly at email@example.com.
- Returning Students may request a leave of absence and must do so by the end of the first week of classes, September 7, 2020 in order to avoid liability for tuition and other fees associated with your enrollment. Please be assured that your MICA scholarships will remain secure while you are on leave, and will be fully reinstated as long as you return to MICA within three years.
- New First Year Students and new Transfer Students may defer enrollment for one semester (to Spring 2021) or for one full year (to Fall 2021), and must do so by the end of the first week of classes on September 7, 2020 in order to avoid liability for tuition and other fees associated with your enrollment. Please be assured that your MICA scholarships will remain secure, and will be fully reinstated as long as you reactivate your status of admission to MICA for the Spring 2021 semester or Fall 2021 semester. If you do not reactivate your status of admission to MICA within one year, you will have to reapply for Admission to MICA and your scholarships are subject to change.
- If you are attending MICA with a student visa (F-1), please consult with the Office of International Education if you are considering a leave of absence, or if you are unable to maintain full-time attendance (12 or more credits) for the fall semester.
Spring and Summer Terms
With the changes to our plan for reopening the campus this fall, MICA will also be reevaluating its plans for the spring and summer terms. Our hope is that the public health situation will improve sufficiently to allow for increased levels of physical gathering and activity on campus by spring. We are also exploring the possibility for an enhanced Summer term that will allow us to extend the academic year so that students can continue to progress in their degree plans through the summer. We have not yet committed to any modifications of this schedule, but we will be addressing planning for the spring and summer in the coming weeks as we continue to monitor the public health situation.
Tuition and Fees
MICA will freeze tuition and fees at last year’s rate for the 2020-2021 fall and spring semesters and will not implement the previously announced 2.5% tuition increase.
Housing, meal plans, health insurance, parking permits, and student life fees will be credited or removed from student accounts for the fall semester as soon as possible. Updated invoices will be posted on the Student Service Center no later than Tuesday, August 11. The tuition and fees due date has been extended to Friday, August 14 with flexibility granted as needed.
If you have already paid your tuition, your account will be credited accordingly. If a refund is due, a check will be mailed to the student address on record. Please update your address within the Student Service Center to ensure timely reimbursement.
For more information, please contact:
The Office of Student Account Services
Student Health Insurance
MICA requires all international students residing in the U.S. and studying at MICA to be covered by MICA's Student Health Insurance plan. Domestic online students are also eligible to enroll in MICA's Student Health Insurance plan. International students have been auto enrolled and any interested domestic students should complete the enrollment process by September 30.
For additional information, please contact:
Financial aid and MICA scholarships will not be reduced despite the decrease in tuition rates unless the total amount of financial aid and MICA scholarships exceeds the total amount of tuition and fees. This means that most financial aid recipients will experience an increase in aid relative to tuition and fees. If you are no longer able to enroll full-time, the Financial Aid Office will prorate your financial aid and MICA scholarships according to your registered qualifying credits.
We are in the final stages of planning details around fall Work Study and more information will be communicated by the Office of Financial Aid.
Please contact the Office of Financial Aid at firstname.lastname@example.org if moving to online only presents you with a financial hardship, with technology-related requirements needed to successfully complete your coursework.
Please refer to the Technology section to review recommended hardware specifications.
For more information, please contact:
The Office of Financial Aid
First Year Experience (FYE): All FYE coursework will take place online. Inquiries related to elective classes or class changes should be directed to the FYE Advisor, Laura Birdsall at: email@example.com
First Year International (FYI): The FYI program will continue to operate as planned as a fully online fall program for international students. Inquiries should be directed to the Associate Dean of Liberal Arts, Christine Manganaro: firstname.lastname@example.org
The First Year Fellows (FYF): The First Year Fellows Program in Creative Entrepreneurship will move to a fully online program for Fall 2020. Inquiries should be directed to the FYF Faculty Coordinator, Zvezdana Stojmirovic: email@example.com
Returning Students: All returning students who are already fully registered for fall semester courses should check the status of their current courses on or after Monday, August 10. Adjustments to course plans may be made before the end of add/drop on September 4. For more information, please contact Undergraduate Studies at firstname.lastname@example.org
Transfer Students: All coursework will take place online. Inquiries related to elective classes or class changes should be directed to the Transfer Advisor, Tru Ludwig, at: email@example.com
New and returning graduate students who are already fully registered for fall semester courses should maintain their current courses (whether hybrid or online) until the week of August 10, when program-specific information for the fully online fall semester will become available. On or before Friday, August 14, Graduate Directors will provide new and returning students with an update regarding fall semester program plans so that graduate students can then adjust courses as appropriate, or consider alternatives, before the start of the fall semester.
For more information, please contact:
Under the Fall 2020 guidance from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), continuing international students already in the US or entering by the start of the fall semester will be able to take a full course of study online. If they choose to stay outside the US, they may take up to a full course load of online classes in their home country and maintain their F-1 status.
This same SEVP guidance allows new international students currently outside the United States to take a fully online course of study but requires that they remain outside the US for the Fall semester. New international students already in the US and transferring to MICA may take full online courses.
Some new or continuing students may choose to take a leave of absence for the fall semester. These students will need to work with their academic advisors and the Office of International Education (OIE) to process the leave of absence and discuss their return for the spring semester.
The situation for continuing students taking a leave of absence, as well as new international students outside the US taking MICA courses, can be nuanced. Therefore, a representative from OIE will contact each of these students to discuss their situation in the first half of the semester to determine when best to issue the spring I-20 and if any other support is needed.
If a student is in China and needs a VPN for the upcoming Fall semester, the student should contact OIE: firstname.lastname@example.org. The student will be contacted by an OIE representative with the instructions for downloading and registering for Express VPN.
MICA’s Office of International Education will continue to keep international students updated, and OIE staff are available to answer any questions or concerns you have at email@example.com.
Residence halls will be closed for the Fall 2020 semester, with limited exceptions. All fall semester housing fees will be reversed and refunded as appropriate, including deposits paid by first year students.
For those students with a significant housing hardship, the College will consider your circumstances on a case-by-case basis. Any personal information shared with the College to explain the hardship will be kept as private as possible. Our ability to accommodate such requests is extremely limited, and anyone permitted to stay can expect limited campus services being available.
Students with belongings from the Spring 2020 semester that are still on campus will be provided with additional information shortly. Please watch for communication from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clinical Services for Students
Student Counseling Center: The Student Counseling Center will remain available for tele-counseling appointments which can be made by calling (410) 225-2367 or emailing email@example.com.
- Tele-Counseling Services are available for currently enrolled MICA students who reside in Maryland.
- State Licensing Laws currently prohibit our Maryland Licensed Staff from providing mental health services with students located in other states. We will update our policies if and when these laws change.
- For students residing outside of Maryland, Student Counseling Center staff is available to assist with guidance around referral options in your state of residence. Students may call (410) 225-2367 for assistance.
Student Health Center: The Student Health Center will remain available for a hybrid model of in-person and tele-health services. Students may attend a pre-scheduled appointment by calling (410) 225-4118 and can access same-day care by calling ahead and speaking to a care team member first.
New Student Orientation
New students, both Graduate or Undergraduate, should continue to orient themselves to MICA using the online modules in Canvas. The in-person portions of New Student Orientation will not take place prior the Fall semester and are being re-envisioned. Please stay tuned for further information.
Fabrication Studios & Equipment Checkout
Fabrication Studios, including all campus-wide shops and department shops, will be closed for the Fall semester. All Fabrication and academic department equipment checkout will be closed for the Fall semester. The Exhibitions shop is also closed for the Fall semester.
Technology: Computer Labs, Software and Help Desk
With the shift to fully online instruction, MICA is developing additional support for remote teaching and learning strategies. Remote software access and corresponding hardware requirements are being explored to address technology needs for some courses and programs. Further information will be provided in collaboration with Technology and the academic departments.
Computer classrooms/labs will be closed for the Fall Semester. Lab services such as Print Lab and Grad Lab will have modified remote services.
Recommended hardware specifications for student computers are available on the Technology web site. Adobe Creative Cloud is made available to students.
Please contact the MICA Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org for technical support including questions about your MICA account (@mica.edu) or if you would like to request Office 365.
Access to Campus, the MICA Store & MICA IDs
MICA is reverting to a modified Phase 1 of the Reopening Plan. During this phase, all employees in non-academic divisions who can work effectively remotely without compromising the nature of that work should continue to do so. The presence of faculty and staff on campus will be determined by the need to prepare for class instruction and as well as the nature of work, and should only be on a very limited basis. In this phase, the vast majority of MICA employees should continue working remotely. For employees who need to be on campus, efforts should be made to limit the number of employees present at one time. Campus Safety should be contacted to gain access to buildings at (410) 225-2245. MICA will continue to be closed to the public.
The MICA Store will be closed, but will ship website and phone orders for students, faculty, and staff who require supplies for online learning. We are also available for curbside pickup orders Monday through Friday. Visit online at shop.mica.edu or call (410) 225-2276 to place an order, or to obtain more information.
New MICA I.D. cards for first-year students and transfers will be mailed to your home address. If you are currently employed or enrolled at mica for the Fall semester and need a new ID, you can email a current jpg picture of your head and shoulders to email@example.com, and one will be sent.