July 15 New Undergraduate Student Informational Session FAQ

Information answered at the July 15 informational session for new undergraduate students.

To watch the recording of this session, click here.

Q: What would a regular freshman year look like, and how will this year be similar and different?

The biggest difference this year is that our incoming freshman can choose to complete their semester online as well as as a residential student. This year is going to be different.  Life is now different.  The pandemic has changed everything.  Students’ class meetings  will be smaller than usual, which means the sense of community may be enhanced. Another difference is that the last part of the term will be online.

Students are encouraged to complete their studio work by the Wednesday prior to November 26 (Campus closed).  During the two weeks prior to November 26, MICA will open for extended periods of access in departmental spaces and assigned studios.  Liberal Arts faculty will not assign large projects due in November and instead will have major deadlines aligned with the final week of the term in December.

Q: When will students get housing and roommate assignments? When will we find out who our roommates are? Is it possible to know our roommates sooner so we can plan on who brings what?

The timeline for completing assignments hasn’t changed due to COVID-19. Assignments will be sent electronically in early August. Residence Life’s goal is to get them out as soon as possible once they fully understand the demand via students taking online classes vs. in person classes. There are several de-densify strategies they are exploring to help with the safety and social distancing measurements of residence life and we won’t be able to implement them until we know what the demand is.

Q: Because dorms will be single occupancy, are students being charged a single occupancy rate?

Yes, students will be charged a single occupancy rate for their single bed usage. However, the cost will be reduced now that we are closing early immediately following Thanksgiving, by December 1. Students can expect that change on their next monthly billing process in August. If you were counting on the cost of a double in order to attend MICA, please reach out to your financial aid counselor to discuss your individual situation. The single cost for fall 2020 for students who will move out by the December 1 deadline will be $5,434. For students who stay later, there will be a weekly charge (~359/week) If asked, $4894 total for the double room rate.

Q: How long will the residence halls be closed after Thanksgiving? Will students stay in the same apartment when they return to campus in January for spring 2021? Can they leave their belongings in my apartment, or will they have to move out completely? 

All students must be moved out December 1 by 4 pm. Students who need an extension can make a request to stay until the end of the usual term, December 19.  Extensions will be charged a weekly rate for each week they continue to stay in housing. For extreme cases, there will be an option for students to stay beyond December 19. Students must take all of their belongings with them when they move out. It is difficult to predict what the spring semester will entail and if students will be permitted back to campus at all for the spring, or if we’ll suddenly have higher demand. 

Q:  When will students and families find out their assigned move-in date? 

Assignments will be completed in early August, and students will be notified of their move-in time slots shortly after. Slots for new students will be between August 21-24, and slots for returning students will be between August 17-20.

Q: Will parents be allowed on campus and in the apartments as our students move in?

Yes. Please note that only two move in helpers (friends or family) will be allowed in the residence hall with each student. Large laundry baskets will be available for each student to quickly off load items into your apartment to be unpacked at a later time. Move in helpers will need to leave shortly after.

Q: Will students and families who have already booked their flights and travel plans be prioritized for their preferred day and time?  

The safety of the entire community is contingent on adhering to a very strict move in schedule that will not allow for deviations from the plan. Residence Life will incorporate some flexibility into the schedule, but will not be able to specifically accommodate every person’s unique schedule.

Q: If a student has three people with them for move-in day, can they switch off to meet the two-person requirement? 

Yes. The requirement is only enforced inside the building.

Q: Will there be a time limit on parents helping move freshmen into dorms? 

Yes. Each family will have a specific time slot. The goal is for each family to utilize large moving carts to quickly unload a vehicle into the apartment, return the carts and then unpack inside the apartment over the next few days. Family members will need to help with move in of items but leave soon after so the next family can move in. Unpacking can take place over the next several days before classes begin. 

Q: What is the cut off date for any changes to the move in plan?  

Once a clearer picture is determined, the move in logistics will be shared and will be finalized. The target for sending this information to students is early August.

Q: Is there a possibility that students who have created a roommate group will be split up?

Yes. We will match students based on the lifestyle compatibility on how you completed the application. We will not be able to honor roommate requests. 

Q: If a group of four students want to room together in an apartment, will that be allowed or will they be placed in two apartments to add more distance/safety?

Residence Life staff is actively looking for ways to de-densify the residence halls including limiting the amount of people living in each apartment. Specific details cannot be determined until there is a  clear picture of what on-campus housing demand will be as a result of virtual classes. As such, Residence Life staff will be assigning students to apartments based on the lifestyle compatibility they identified on housing applications, and roommate requests will not be able to be honored at this time.

Q: Do you have a checklist for preparation and items that students should bring?  

Residence Life has a standard ‘what to bring list’ on the website at https://assets.mica.edu/files/resources/to_bring_list.pdf. Please note that some things have changed due to COVID-19.  For safety precautions, students are encouraged to consider having their own set of dishes/utensils. Residence Life will share expectations with students before move in so they can pack appropriately and prepare. Also, keep in mind that the semester is shortened and students will need to take home belongings when they move out. Pack light! Only essentials should be coming with students to campus. 

Q: Do the dorm rooms provide desks or do the students have to bring their own?  

MICA has found over the years that desks are not universally used and that use is often centered on future degree goals, so desks are not provided in apartments. Residence Life recommends students get a desk after they have moved in, gotten their syllabi, and have an understanding of what their class schedule demand is. Students can refer to the Frequently Asked Questions page for Housing for addition information at https://www.mica.edu/residence-life-and-office-campus-housing/information-for-mica-parents/

Q: Will students who are living in the special housing for the entrepreneurial program receive information about their specific living situation prior to coming to campus?

Yes. A comprehensive plan with specific instructions will be sent to all students who live on campus inclusive of the entrepreneurial program.

Q: How will Residence Life prevent parties from occurring in dorm rooms?  

Residence Life staff will complete rounds in all residence halls to ensure policies are followed with the help of Campus Safety. Ultimately, it is the community’s responsibility to practice safety during the pandemic and use their best judgement. We need to hold each other accountable and have those difficult conversations if we see people putting others’ safety at risk. 

Q: Will new students be able to tour MICA (or at least some parts of MICA) before move-in? How will students know where everything is located on campus?

At this time, all on campus, in person tours have been suspended until further notice. Later this month, MICA will launch a YouVisit Virtual Tour that will allow students to experience a campus tour virtually. YouVisit interfaces with Googlemaps so you can see the proximity from one building to the next. Students can also Google <MICA Campus Map>. 

Q: When is Orientation, and how does it work? 

First Year and Transfer Orientation will take place before classes begin on Monday, August 31.

First Year Orientation will take place Friday, August 28 through Sunday, August 30. All sessions will happen in groups with no more than 10 people in a room, with health & safety measures in place such as social distancing and mask-wearing. We will also be providing virtual social events, to give students an opportunity to meet each other and build community among the first-year class.  For First Year students who are on campus but have to quarantine and for First Year students who have chosen to take their first year online, we will provide a synchronous orientation experience to complement the Canvas Course.

Transfer Orientation will take place on Saturday, August 29. We will provide an in-person option and virtual option.

Lastly, all First Year and Transfer students should have received an invitation to join a Canvas course. We hope all students take advantage of the Online Orientation experience that we have designed this year to help with your transition to MICA!

Q: What social experience can students expect in a semi (if not fully) virtual environment?

MICA is committed to maintaining the spirit and vibrancy of the community through robust virtual programming. We have a campus committee that is dedicated to this specifically. We will offer virtual campus programming, including community-building for new students and programming around activism, voter engagement, equity, racial and social justice.

A new app for the college, launching in Fall 2020, will centralize all event and exhibition information, as well as provide the ability to join and participate in student organizations. Within the app, the campus community will have the ability to engage on a campus wall where virtual activities and announcements can be shared. In addition, students will be able to connect with one another and communicate through direct messages.

Q: How will the Fall 2020’s unique circumstances impact meal plan costs?

The single cost for Fall 2020 for students who will move out after thanksgiving will be $5,434. For students who stay beyond fall break, there will be a weekly charge (~359/week).

Q: Will students or their parents (who will help them move in) be required to undergo a 14 day quarantine when arriving at MICA?

Currently, Maryland’s governor has not issued a quarantine requirement on domestic visitors to the state of Maryland.  Should a change occur in the coming weeks, MICA will certainly follow the governor’s mandate. The only students who will be required to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine window prior to attending in-person classes are those students arriving from international destinations, consistent with current Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance. Students arriving from international locations who are scheduled to live-on campus may conduct their quarantine in their campus residence. Such students should be in communication with the Office of Residence Life to make arrangements.

Q: If a student undergoes a 14-day quarantine, will they be given sick leave from classes, or will they have classes online? 

MICA will support students undergoing a 14-day quarantine academically by ensuring that all courses are accessible through online/remote or asynchronous assignments through the first two weeks of classes. 

Q: What measures have been taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus?

MICA is implementing a broad range of public health and safety measures across campus. Those include reducing density, moving classes online, teleworking, not allowing outside organizations to have events on campus, physical distancing throughout all public spaces campus (including classrooms, studios, dining halls), mandatory face coverings (two cloth masks will be issued to every student along with a digital thermometer and hand sanitizer when they arrive on campus), hand hygiene, temperature screening at all buildings, enhanced cleaning protocols and air circulation, and protocols for when any positive cases (including contact tracing, isolation, quarantine and care). A committee made up of students, faculty, and staff has been developing these strategies, which are not all described on the MICA reopening website (https://www.mica.edu/mica-dna/r5/reopen/).

Q: During the pandemic, will professional cleaning be done in the Residence Hall suites on a regular basis or are students responsible for their own cleaning? Will common spaces in residential buildings have restrictions in place to prevent large group gatherings?

Public spaces will be cleaned daily including student lounges, lobbies, stairwells, etc.. Students are responsible for the cleaning of their own apartments. MICA will provide disinfectant wipes for each apartment (800 count bucket), but students should be prepared to supply their own cleaning supplies beyond wipes. Maximum occupancy restrictions in specific spaces (such as lounges) will be posted and enforced by staff. It is also up to the community to adhere to the safety expectations for the health of everyone else. 

Q: Will masks be mandatory at all times? Will masks be provided to students while on campus?

Face coverings will be required to be worn throughout the MICA campus with the exception of individual residence apartments and single offices. Two reusable cloth face coverings will be provided to all MICA students, faculty, and staff. Because cloth face coverings will be provided, students, staff, and faculty will be required to maintain and wash their own face coverings. Disposable masks shall be available at guard stations for those that forget their face covering.     

Q: How will MICA handle social distancing in the classroom? What are the classroom sizes for the general session classes with social distance of 6 ft? or are you considering the 3 ft?

Within classrooms, density is being reduced based on the room square footage and unique program and features of each space in order to provide the recommended social distancing. A minimum of 81 SF/person is being allotted to accommodate social distancing and allow for movement. 3’0” separation is not being considered. Classroom size shall be dependent on the room size and program requirements...for example, if a studio lab requires the use of fixed equipment, the SF/person will increase to accommodate the equipment and program process. 81 SF/person will be the minimum.   

Q: What other social distancing precautions will be implemented?

Specific examples of precautions include:

  • Installation of infrared temperature sensing cameras at building entrances. 

  • In accordance with the CDC and American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRE) recommendations, both air quality and circulation recommendations are being implemented.  

    • Upgrading mechanical system filters to MERV-13. Additionally, filter changes shall be increased to quarterly vs. semi-annually.  

    • Increasing the amount of outside air circulation through mechanical systems. 

  • Cleaning and sanitizing efforts shall increase by approximately 33% to accommodate increased cleaning and sanitizing throughout the campus.   

  • Occupancy limits for stairways, elevators, restrooms and conference spaces

  • Directional guidance in stairways and corridors

  • Distancing guidance where cuing may be required (ex. Picking up packages at the mailroom) will be implemented. Establishing appointments will be strongly encouraged. 

  • Food service shall be grab-n-go rather than made-to-order  

  • Plexiglass separation shall be implemented in areas where interactions less than the recommended distancing may be required.  

Q: Is there a possibility of the reopening plan changing as the semester progresses?

Features implemented throughout campus will be monitored and revisited as CDC, federal, state and Baltimore City guidance evolves and as program needs evolve.  

Q: What are the start of semester days and end of semester dates? And when do classes shift to becoming fully online?

Classes will begin as originally scheduled on August 31, with provisions for remote participation made for anyone arriving late or needing to be in quarantine during the first two weeks of class. The 2020 semester becomes fully online after Thanksgiving break on November 30 for undergraduates only. The last day of classes will be December 17.

Q: If for Fall 2020 state that all undergraduate classes after Thanksgiving break will be online, does that mean that the spring 2021 semester will also be online? What will the full academic calendar look like?

The reason for moving the undergraduate programs fully online after Thanksgiving is to mitigate the public health risks of people traveling during the holiday and then returning to campus, and is unrelated to our plans for the Spring 2021 semester. 

MICA is currently working with a plan for spring that would follow our normal academic calendar and will permit increasing levels of physical gathering and activity on and around the MICA campus, but is also adaptable to conditions on the ground. We have not yet committed to any modifications of this schedule, but will be addressing planning for the spring as part of our ongoing monitoring of the public health situation and our ability to gain increasing access to the physical campus. 

Q: Is there a difference in tuition for students studying on campus or online only?

Tuition will be the same for all students. However, student life fees ($585) and  health insurance fees ($611 if not needed) for the fall term will not be collected for those not on studying on campus. Online students will save on housing and meal costs as well. Also, a student’s financial aid package will be the same whether they are registered in fall as a full time online student or a residential student.

Q: Who are the academic advisors for new students to MICA?

Laura Birdsall is the First Year Experience advisor (lbirsdall@mica.edu). Tru Ludwig is the Transfer Academic advisor (tludwig@mica.edu.)

Q: Will financial aid and scholarships be impacted by remote learning?

Financial aid and scholarships for students enrolled full-time will not be impacted. If you are enrolling as a part-time student your Financial Aid and Scholarships will be prorated based on the number of credits.

Q: What is the deadline for deferral if a student decides not to attend classes in August?

The deadline for deferral is September 4.

Q: What is the process for deferring for a semester (to Spring 2021)? Can you defer for a year (to Fall 2021)?

Students can choose to defer for a semester or a year. To request this, please contact your admission counselor and they can help complete the necessary paperwork to defer your start date.

Q: If the fall semester is online, and I choose to defer to spring 2021 or fall 2021, will my financial aid be affected if I defer?

Your financial aid will not be affected if you decide to defer. If you defer to the Fall 21 school year and are receiving federal aid, you will need to submit a new FAFSA beginning October 1st for the 2021 - 2022 school year.

Q: If we take a gap semester for the first semester can we decide later, in January that we want to take another gap semester?

Yes — email admissions@mica.edu and we will connect you with your admission counselor, who will defer your admission to the next semester.  

Q: If a student takes a gap year, will they have to re-apply for admission? 

No, their admission will be rolled over to the following fall.

Q: If a first year student chooses to stay home and attend a community college, will MICA award transfer credit?

Yes, but the student will then be considered a transfer student, not a first-year student. The student will not need to re-apply, but will need to submit their community college transcript. Students should check with me to make sure the classes they take will be transferable to MICA. We can advise them of the right classes to take. Email us at  transferquestions@mica.edu for more information about the transfer process. 

Q: Will non-work study jobs be available for students? If so, what is the process for applying to non-work-study jobs? Do I have to fill out tax forms (with forms of ID) with HR to get paid? 

Yes. They will be posted on the MICA website If you are a new student employee, yes, tax forms will be completed electronically via Workday

Q: What is the procedure for Work Study? If you have a work study award, how/when do you learn your job placement, how/when do you get paid, do you have to fill out tax forms (with forms of ID) with HR to get paid? 

Returning students will go back to the department that they worked in last year, unless the supervisor or student requests a transfer.  New Work Study students will need to apply on MICA’s website to be placed.  The posting will be posted next week.

Q: If a student is in quarantine and/or sick with COVID 19 at the end of the term in November, what will happen to them in relation to staying on campus?

Answer: Students in this scenario will be allowed to stay on campus until they recover. In fact, MICA has an extension process for students who have difficulty leaving at the end of the on-campus term. Also, students will not be able to leave quarantine/isolation until cleared by a medical professional

Q: Will the Fitness Center be open when campus reopens?

The Fitness Center is scheduled to open in the fall, but that is contingent on Baltimore City continuing to allow fitness and gyms to operate and is subject to change dependent upon the current health conditions in the City.  Currently, the Fitness Center is scheduled to open during designated hours at 50% capacity with strict public health measures in place related to physical distancing and disinfecting procedures.  All visitors will be required to wear a face covering upon entry.

Q: Can students have visitors to campus?

Guests will not be allowed in residence halls or on campus in general to ensure the safety of the rest of the community. 

Q: If we already paid for housing, is there a way to waive that fee?

Only students who live on campus will be charged for housing. Students must be taking a class that meets physically on campus in order to live in a residence hall.. 

Q: How will classes work if students must move out of residence halls by December 1 but classes end on December 15?

After the thanksgiving break, all classes will only be offered virtually. 

Q: Will MICA be able to test regularly and isolate those who test positive for COVID-19? 

Testing will be available for all students with symptoms of COVID-19 who meet CDC testing criteria.  MICA’s infection control response includes isolation of students who test positive and quarantine for 14 days of those students who were in close contact with a positive student.  Faculty and staff deemed close contacts of a confirmed COVI-19 positive case would be required to quarantine off campus for 14 days and contact their primary care provider.  MICA will be partnering with the Baltimore City Health department around contact tracing for medical management of close contacts of any positive student cases.

Q: Where will MICA quarantine students if they test positive? 

The College has identified residential isolation/quarantine spaces on-campus for any student who tests positive for COVID-19 and their close contacts.

    • If a student contracts COVID-19, will medical staff continue to check in if the student is quarantining in their room? Student Health Center staff is prepared to provide medical management and support to students in isolation and quarantine. 

Q: If a student does get ill or is identified as having been in contact with someone who tests positive, can the student quarantine at home?

Students testing positive or close contacts of those testing positive should undergo isolation/quarantine in place to minimize the risk of transmission of the virus during travel. 

Q: Will all students undergo temperature screening as they enter buildings

Students, faculty, and staff will be required to undergo a temperature screening before entering a building. Wristbands will be given to those who have undergone a temperature check and are required to be worn at all times. There will be a random, rotating daily color band assignment so that bands cannot be used for more than one day.