July 15 Returning Undergraduate Student Information Session FAQ

Information for returning undergraduate students from the July 15 virtual session.

To watch the video recording of the session, click here.

Q: Can I do all online classes and still be considered a full time student? 

Yes, as of yesterday, July 14, 2020, all domestic and international students can take fully online full time course loads of 12 credits or more.

Q: Can you take all your classes online even if you are in the states?  


Q: How did you decide which classes became remote?

We assessed the CLOs with the faculty of record and the Associate Dean to determine the feasibility of teaching the course online. 

Q: Would I be able to take a couple academic classes online next semester instead of enrolling in my full schedule?

Yes. We recommend that you take fewer than five classes if they are Liberal Arts courses. You can go online via the portal (or self service) and see which courses are being offered Online, Hybrid and Modified F2F.

Q: I already went through registration. Do I still need to contact my advisor before 7/31?  

Check your course listings; some of your courses that you registered for this spring will be designated as online, hybrid, or modified face to face.  If you are satisfied with your current schedule you do not need to contact your advisor.

Q: If we sign up for a fully online course load, does that mean we would have to pick our classes again? 

If returning students wish to pursue a fully online course load, yes, you may need to reselect your courses.

Q: Can I get a refund on campus housing if I would rather stay at home?

We will only charge students for housing if they are physically here. If you are only enrolled in virtual classes, you will be removed from your assignment for the fall. If your plans suddenly change, notify the office immediately. There is a refund schedule for students who leave housing mid semester. The amount of the refund depends on when you vacate and after a certain date, there is no additional refund allowed.

Q: Lots of students, myself included, are considering taking leaves of absence. Could you explain how that process works? 

While we're fully prepared to assist students in revising their schedules (in light of the changes that are currently being made), and to supporting them in all modes of course delivery, we understand that some students may elect to take a leave of absence for the fall semester. MICA has a well-defined process for that, and it begins by conversing with your advisor (about the effect a leave of absence might have on your degree plan) and completing the necessary paperwork. MICA's leave of absence policy allows students a three-year window for returning without loss of scholarships; students utilizing federal loans should consult with Financial Aid about whether their leave of absence will take those into repayment status. Students attending MICA with an F-1 visa should also contact the Office of International Education to discuss their plans and to obtain information on the re-entry requirements/process.

Q: When is the last date you can say you want to take a gap year. Also will you lose your scholarship and grant money? 

In order to avoid being liable for any charges associated with the semester, students need to request their leave of absence (or deferral) by the end of the first week of classes (September 4).  Your scholarship will be secure and you will not lose them.

Q: What will access to shared studio spaces look like? 

Chairs and Faculty are working with the Studio Managers in their respective areas to ensure that as much access to facilities and equipment as possible is provided. Chairs will be able to give more details in scheduled SVA department sessions.

Q: What will be the status of the shops around campus? I am a student technician and avid shop user. Will they be open? 

MICA shops will only be open to particular courses due to the need to adequately clean and maintain our indoor shop spaces.  There will be less need for student techs as we need to limit bodies in these spaces.

Q: What will be the situation for fine arts seniors regarding studios and thesis?

Independent studios will be assigned in the departments that traditionally provide these as part of their programs. Physical distancing and health and safety measures will be followed such that in most shared studios, occupancy will have to be scheduled so that there is only one student present at any given time per space.

Q: Will painting classes be modified in-person? 

All painting classes will be offered as either online or hybrid. Any painting classes with multiple sections i.e. Intro to Painting, Color Pigment Surface, Junior Independent Painting and Senior Thesis will include both online and hybrid sections.

Q: How are animation students going to be able to use studio cintiques to be able to work on their projects (ex: seniors & thesis) 

We're currently working to relocate some labs and are adding additional lab space in Bunting in order to adhere to physical distancing. In addition, equipment checkout will run as normal. 

Q: When/how will students finish their finals for their studio class(es) that need specific equipment (printmaking, sculpture, etc) 

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,  we 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: Will MICA be eliminating their three strikes attendance policy? 

Faculty are focused on whether students are able to meet the CLOs for the assigned course.  

Faculty are considering how to define attendance in online and hybrid courses and the attendance policy is under consideration. Existing policies and support are in place for students with extended illness or disabilities.

Q: How will the MICA library work this semester?

The library will be offering a pick-up/drop-off service this fall and limited appointments to look at Special Collections materials. We will be increasing the types of material that you can check out to include magazines, journals, and games. Library staff are also able to meet with anyone virtually. 

Q: What precautions will be taken to ensure health and safety? 

We are implementing a broad range of public health and safety measures across the MICA campus.  Reducing density — moving classes online, teleworking, not allowing outside organizations without MICA academic purposes to be on campus; physical distancing throughout all public spaces campus — classrooms, studios, dining halls; 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, protocols for when any positive cases — contact tracing, isolation, quarantine and care.  We have a committee made up of students, faculty and staff that has been developing these strategies, which are not all described on the MICA reopening website.

Q: What will the shuttles be looking like next year? Will we still be able to call them? 

Yes, the daily circulator and evening safety shuttles will be running as usual.  The evening shuttles can be called by phone or through our Tapride, our mobile app.  We are not running the weekend social/shopping shuttles for health safety purposes because they go out to distant locations in the city.

Q: What is MICA's plan if a shut down needs to occur again? 

We think the possibility of this is unlikely but if we are required to close due an order from the Governor or Mayor, we will be moving all classes into a remote/online mode and requiring students to vacate the dorms.  We are better prepared to handle a situation like this as we learned a lot from our experience last spring, but we’re confident the transition will be much more seamless than it was in the spring.

Q: Why is there no two week quarantine when we all get back?

MICA’s current plan is to require quarantine only for those arriving from international destinations, per current Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance. Similarly, at present Maryland is not recommending quarantine for out of state visitors. If the directives from the CDC, State of Maryland, or the City of Baltimore change MICA of course will reconsider. There is a lot that goes into this decision, but as one consideration I’d remind everyone that MICA could only effectively enforce quarantine within our residential population which is less than half our student population. We would have no way to monitor or enforce hundreds of students simultaneously quarantining off-campus, nor would we be able to ask employees to quarantine. This means that any quarantine would impact only a fraction of the community and hence not provide the health benefit people perceive.

Q: How is MICA considering asymptomatic COVID cases in the Screening, Testing and Care component of the reopening plan? 

MICA’s Student Health Center is able to arrange testing for any student who shows signs or symptoms of the coronavirus and coordinate necessary follow-up. We are also partnering with the Baltimore City Health Department around contact-tracing for testing and medical management of close contacts of any positive student cases.

Q: Is wearing a mask going to be required at all times in buildings?

Yes a mask or face covering will be required on campus whether inside or outside. Inside residential Apartments are the exception to this rule. 

Q: Why is MICA not providing COVID-19 tests for all students and faculty before or upon return to campus? 

Given that many tests yield false positive results and false negative results we have adopted an approach toward minimizing the risk of exposure by requiring face coverings both indoors and outdoors, maximizing our campus cleaning regimens, and so forth as detailed on our reopening website.

Q: Why will graduate students be allowed back in their Lazarus studios after Thanksgiving break but not seniors? 

Our Graduate Studies MFA programs are considerably smaller in scale in comparison to the undergraduate programs at MICA.  Nearly all graduate students live off campus and typically do not travel for Thanksgiving break.  Additionally, our graduate students are in these degree programs for a very short period of only 1 or 2 years, thus, we are equipping this more Baltimore-based graduate population access between Thanksgiving and the winter holidays.

Q: Are there any ideas on how the spring semester will be organized?

We will likely make a decision in early December about how to proceed with the spring semester.

Q: What will MICA do if a student living in the dorms contracts COVID19? 

If a student who lives on campus tests positive, they will be moved to designated isolation housing where their health can be closely monitored. Students in isolation will not be permitted to leave their space until cleared by a medical professional. All services will be accounted for including meals, trash removal, etc. 

Q: Are you saying that once Thanksgiving comes we will not be allowed back on campus for the rest of the year and the spring semester?

After classes at the Thanksgiving holiday, students will be required to vacate the residence halls by Dec. 1 inclusive of taking home all of their belongings. 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 and need to reassign students. We learned a lot in March after move out. We currently still have 1000s of boxes of students’ belongings on campus. The college has had to move mountains of boxes and students haven’t been able to access their belongings. It is a poor outcome for everyone involved. There will be an extension request process for students who face challenges vacating by Dec. 1st.  In fact, there are still students living on campus who had difficulties leaving in March. 

Q: How are hybrid and online classes going to affect tuition cost for the Fall semester?  

Tuition will remain the same whether students select online, or hybrid and face to face course schedules.  Online students will not need to pay for a student life semester fee of  $585 ($1170 annual) nor a fall health insurance fee of $776.50 ($1553 annual) for a total fall term savings of $1361. Online students will not need to pay for room and board for the fall semester.

Q: What is the situation with Work/Study? Will it be a case-by-case basis?

All federal/MICA work study jobs will be offered to students who have already been awarded work-study funds. are eligible.  Due to the new occupancy limits on particular spaces, there will be modifications in the types of positions.  For example, there will be greatly reduced student tech jobs in the MICA shops.

Q: How are work studies like MCS lab or Decker Library going to function? Will we still work?

All students who have been awarded are eligible for federal/MICA work study will be assigned work if they wish to work.  Most of our shops will not host student workers due to the limits on occupancy during the COVID pandemic.  

Q: Are there going to be storage options available for the Thanksgiving move out date? 

Each student has different storage needs and luckily there are several storage options right near campus that often compete for student’s business by offering deals and coupons. We find that often students will partner together to store their items to reduce costs. 

Q: Will the costs of housing and meal plans remain the same, even though I’ll be leaving campus at Thanksgiving? 

The single cost for fall 2020 for will be $5,434. For students who stay later, there will be a weekly charge (~359/week)

Q: How will dormitories work during this pandemic? 

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

Q: How many students will be in each dorm suite? 

The configuration is multiple people in each apartment that will share a kitchen, bathroom and common area. Each person is in a single bedroom within the shared apartment. The max amount of people in an apartment is 4. If we are able to dedensify and reduce the amount of people in apartments we absolutely will.

Q: When do they get housing assignments and move in dates? 

More information about specific move-in times is coming soon once we completely understand the demand. We have been able to narrow down the move in windows for each community. Returning students will move in between August 17-20 and all new students will move in between August 20-24. Specific time slots within that window will depend on the assignment information. We understand the many complications that arranging travel entails. The move in process is complicated by the multiple layers of safety and social distancing protocols we have put into place. We can only accommodate a specific amount of people/hour/day and it varies from building to building.  

Q: Will students still be allowed to use the studio spaces in the dorms? 

Unfortunately, not all of our studios have the proper ventilation to safely use. Luckily, the campus apartments are designed to support art making within reason (nothing toxic allowed!) Homosote boards are on multiple walls in each apartment and the apartments are large to support dedicated space for art making.

Q: How long will the residence halls be closed after Thanksgiving? 

Residence halls close on Dec. 1 by 4 p.m. There will be an extension request for students facing challenges that need to stay longer with the hope that the residence halls will be empty by Dec. 19, the usual close of the term. However, we are flexible and will support students if the need for extended stay if it arises.

Q: Once there is a COVID-19 vaccine will MICA mandate that students receive the vaccine? 

The decision to mandate any COVID vaccine will initially be decided by local and state Health Departments. MICA will follow the guidelines provided.

Q: How will student fitness such as the gym opening being handled? 

The Fitness Center is scheduled to open this Fall, but that is contingent on Baltimore City continuing to allow fitness centers to operate. This is subject to change based on the current health situation in Baltimore. The current plan is for the Fitness Center will be 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.