July 17 Staff Information Session FAQ

Information that was discussed during the July 17 Town Hall.

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

 General Questions

If the CDC’s guidelines are withheld by the White House, what other organizational guidelines will you use to ensure MICA’s safety?

We understand the concern about the CDC’s independence given many of the reports about their recommendations being potentially influenced or withheld. In addition to the CDC, MICA is following guidance from the American College Health Association and public health experts at Johns Hopkins, with whom we are having direct conversations.  In addition, we’re developing protocols using guidelines from the Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA), the MD Occupational Safety and Health Department (MOSH) and our risk management consultant, Willis Towers Watson. 

How will mask wearing be enforced on campus? 

Every staff, faculty and student will be required to sign a social contract before coming back to campus, committing to comply with all the public health measures being implemented.  It will be everyone’s responsibility to comply and to remind others to comply with these measures.  For students, non-compliance will be treated like any other non-performance issue that would fall under the student conduct protocols. 

Who are the Student Health Ambassadors?  How are they hired and what is their role? 

The intent of this role is to have students providing reminders to community members to adhere to the basic public health measures being implemented, with the focus being primarily on their fellow students.  The Healthy, Safe and Sustainable Campus Committee is pulling back from this plan because of concerns we’ll be putting students in awkward positions by asking them to address noncompliance.  This will be changing and we will update the website soon. 

 How many students or staff have to test positive for COVID-19 before MICA closes? 

We are working with health experts on this and their preliminary guidance is that if we have five unrelated positive cases on campus at the same time, we will need to shut the campus down.  While this sounds like a small number, the key word is “unrelated;” if we have a positive case on campus, there may be others who came into contact with that person and got infected so that would be a “related” case, and not count toward that threshold of five.  

Why are the educational and training videos only encouraged and not required for being allowed to physically enter campus?

That is a very good point and will be reviewed by the HSSC. 

Our plan includes a 14 day quarantine for international students. Why is there no quarantine for domestic students?

This has been discussed in the HSSC, and also with local health experts, and like many issues, there are mixed views on this.  We know that cases have been spiking in several states in the U.S. -- Florida, Texas, Arizona, just to name a few, and the U.S. in general has handled the pandemic much worse than most other countries.  You may know that NY, NJ and Connecticut are requiring 14 day quarantines for people coming from around 16 different hot spot states, and are imposing fines for violations.  (Those states with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or test positivity rate that’s higher than 10%, over a seven-day rolling average.)  The HSSC committee felt that if and when the Governor adopted a plan like this for MD, we would definitely enforce those guidelines, but absent that, it would be hard to determine which states should be included and enforcing it would be very difficult as well.  

Can you explain the plan for testing students, staff and faculty?  Could the MICA website provide a list of places to be tested for students and employees as a resource? 

Testing for COVID-19 will be administered by the Student Health Center for all MICA students experiencing symptoms consistent with the virus.  Staff and faculty who want to be tested will need to go through their physician’s office or go to one of the many public testing sites available in MD.  Good idea regarding posting locations of public testing sites on the MICA website - we will look into that. 

Are commuting faculty members exempt from compliance for public health measures?

Faculty commuting to MICA are generally from the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut region where the pandemic is under good control right now.  As we know, New York was the epicenter back in April but it’s a great example of how strict public health measures can really make a difference.  Faculty are not exempt at all.  They come under all the same public health compliance and responsibility of students and staff.

Why should students risk coming to campus, especially with all the new restrictions?

There’s a wide range of comfort levels people have with going out in public, and coming back to the MICA campus is no exception.  While there’s certainly no guarantee, we believe that the public health measures we are putting in place will greatly reduce the risk of transmission of the virus within our community.  That said, we have an urban campus that’s within a broader community and as we know, students will not be living in a bubble, so there is always risk. This is precisely why we are putting about 45% of our classes online so students in many cases can take a fully online semester.  In a newly released College Reaction/Axios poll, 76% of students said they plan to return to campus if their schools give them the option, and 66% said they would attend in-person classes.

Finance  — Pay and Benefits 

What are the salary reduction scales and furlough options?

Several different salary reduction and furlough options are being developed and discussed.  They all will be progressive in nature so that percentage reductions will be greater for those with higher salaries and less for those in the middle and lower ranges. A group of staff with representatives from each division and different salary levels is being put together to review the options and provide feedback. We will be doing this in the next week or two. 

The furlough days are part of the first phase of the COVID-2 plan which also includes the salary reductions.  The second phase of COVID-2 will occur only if enrollment declines are steeper.

 Based on current enrollment numbers, how likely is it we will be entering the COVID-2 budget plan?  What are the dates and what determines each?

It’s difficult to say right now with registration very much in flux.  Enrollment Services will be running reports twice a week that will show the change in students who are taking a leave, going fully online, or will have at least some in-person classes. This should help us understand the direction students are heading from an enrollment standpoint.

We’re also tracking bill payments and comparing them to the pace of prior years, which will be a good indicator of students' plans to either return or take the semester off.

Residence Life

Will students be required to take their belongings with them when leaving at Thanksgiving, even if they intend to return in the spring? 

Students must take all on their belongings with them when they move out because it is difficult to predict what the spring semester will entail and if students will be permitted back to campus at all.  Conversely, we may have more demand for spring housing, which would require us to redo room assignments.

Will moving out also be staggered/scheduled in order to avoid larger crowds?

Students will have until December 1 at 4:00 pm to move out, approximately 1 week after in-person classes end at Thanksgiving. This will allow time for students to collect their belongings and safely move out over a longer period of time.

When will the request to stay in residence halls beyond Thanksgiving Break be available?

Residence Life will have a process for students to request extensions should they not be able to move out by the December 1 deadline. While our goal is to have all students out of the residence halls by December 19, which is the normal end of term, we are prepared for students to need a longer extension and will support them if necessary.

Will Residence Life still be accepting requests for emergency temporary housing due to housing insecurity, fires and other types of emergencies?

If an off-campus student faces a housing emergency, we will do our best to support them. However, this is always dependent on the spaces available at the time of the request. 

Campus Plan and Facilities

Will there be maps showing which outdoor spaces are considered “on-campus” (e.g. sidewalks and roads along Mt. Royal Avenue) for mask wearing compliance?

Yes, a campus map defining the campus boundaries where face coverings are required will be made available soon. In general, the MICA community will be asked to wear face coverings while walking between MICA buildings, even those away the Mt. Royal corridor. 

Are there plans or recommendations for how shared spaces, such as break rooms/lounges, should be used?  How are they maintained? 

Generally, plans with room capacities will be posted in conference rooms and other meeting locations along with classrooms. Social distancing guidance signage will be posted throughout campus for other spaces. These spaces will be maintained similarly to other public spaces. Facilities Management will disinfect with the Klean Green product Sundays, Tuesdays & Thursdays. Refrigerator contents, utensils and dishes will be the responsibility of the individuals.  

When can departments expect to get their plexiglass barriers, signage and PPE needed to reopen? 

Materials were ordered at the end of each week in which Facilities met with representatives of your departments.  Materials will be installed as they are received. Currently, lead times for these types of materials are longer. Adequate staff and contractors have been identified to complete the installation.

When will occupancy limits for smaller rooms, with consideration for equipment, be solidified and shared? 

The remaining buildings that include fixed equipment, with the exception of the Lazarus Center, will be completed the week ending July 17. Lazarus Center will be available by July 20. Plans for academic spaces in Leake Hall and Gateway will be available by July 21.  

Will plumbing fixtures, like drinking fountains, be flushed before we return?

Yes, plumbing fixtures, including water fountains, are being exercised currently, and regularly, before the campus is reopened. 

Building Services — Cleaning

When R5 groups lay out standardized safety and cleaning protocols for studios and labs with equipment, where will that information be posted?

Studio, lab and classroom spaces have been reviewed with Academic Affairs. Our Building Services team will clean those spaces each morning with Microban 24 and wipes will be provided for cleaning by individual users once they have completed their work in those spaces. Individual studio spaces will be the responsibility of the end user for cleaning and disinfecting. This information has been compiled into a Cleaning Protocols Matrix that will be distributed in the coming weeks.

How do we notify Facilities Management that we need hand soap, sanitizer or wipes?

Any hand soap, hand sanitizer or wipes that are needed should be entered into the work order system by the end user for replenishment. Although Building Services will monitor for these on a daily basis, a work order is the best resolution.

What are the expectations for faculty and staff to clean their own areas after student contact?

Cleaning/sanitizing protocols, frequency and responsibility are identified in a Cleaning Protocol Matrix.  Staff expectations are to clean personal office spaces, kitchens and break rooms. Sanitizing wipes will be provided by Facilities Management to each department. 

How are we cleaning time clocks, which are a common touchpoint? 

We are recommending that staff use the Workday mobile app, or their own computer, to log in instead of shared time clocks. The Building Services team will also wipe down the time clocks on a regular daily schedule and we’ll provide disinfectant wipes so they can be wiped down as well.   

Will you be putting under-insured and uninsured PT workers in compromising positions?

Facilities Management only has one part-time employee and he is based out of our warehouse and uses proper PPE to ensure his safety as well as those around him. As an employer we are providing employees with PPE, cleaning supplies, and safety protocols to ensure a safe environment. 

Environmental Health & Safety

Which buildings will not have temperature taking devices installed, and what will be the protocol for entering these buildings?

Infrared camera temperature screening locations are located all main housing and academic facilities.  They are currently planned for Mt. Royal Station, Main, Dolphin, Art Tech Center, Meyerhoff, Gateway, Founders Green, Lazarus Center,15/15, 81 Mosher, Brown (also services FOX), Bunting, Bungalow, Leake and The Film Centre.  For buildings that do not have a device, individuals will be required to get screened and receive a wristband from one of the aforementioned buildings that has a device.  Once an individual has been screened and cleared for the day, presenting the wristband in addition to normal entry protocols will allow access to areas without a unit and bypass further screenings in areas with a unit. 

How are masks and other supplies going to be distributed on campus and when will this happen?

Two washable cloth masks, a digital thermometer and a 4 oz. bottle of hand sanitizer will be in Welcome Back bags provided to every staff person, faculty member and student.  They will be distributed to staff and faculty through Campus Safety and to students through Residence Life. 

Human Resources

When will the compensation study and salary grading system results be released and how will they be made available?  How will MICA adopt the recommendations of the study?

We are finalizing the Compensation Study.  Collecting some of the data needed was paused due to the COVID crisis.  We have developed a grading system, pay ranges, and job titling based on data collected from CUPA and other sources.

How many staff are due for promotions and/or title changes as related to the compensation study?

This has not been determined yet.  Once the full process has been completed, we will make the information available to everyone.

Regardless of the salary freeze, will employees have a chance to formally update their job descriptions this year and can it lead to increased pay?

All employees were asked to update their job descriptions last year. If your role has changed and will do so after the COVID-19 phases, your manager can work with HR to re-evaluate your position. Based on the original job descriptions submitted, there could possibly be an increase in pay for certain individuals based on the data collected from the compensation studies and the updated JDs.  Please let me re-emphasize that does not include all employees but we did evaluate every job description relative to our data nationally, geographically, locally in the Baltimore area.

With COVID-19, many job descriptions have changed to work in our new virtual space.  Will this be factored into reviews?

Your goals and objectives should specifically align with your current assignments and any changes made to your role during this time.  Please work with your supervisor to determine your specific goals for FY21

How can grant-funded positions proceed with title/equity changes? Who is the decision maker in those cases (i.e. supervisor, VP, HR, donor, etc)?

This is on a case by case basis and it is reviewed collaboratively with the Vice President.

Can you confirm when and how SMART goals and performance reviews are happening?

We’ve offered over 10 training sessions and almost 250 staff and managers overall attended.  The latest open session was offered July 16 for employees to ask questions.  Depending on your Vice President, your goals are due between June 1 and September 1.

With the flu vaccine required, will they be available on campus earlier than normal?

We are currently working with our vendors to determine timing.  We are planning to have flu vaccination clinics on campus for multiple days and in multiple locations.

Will flu vaccines be free?

Employees will not be required to pay for the flu vaccines, but should be submitted through insurance.  MICA will pay for flu vaccines for part-time employee.

Will flu vaccines be open to everyone (students, faculty and staff)?

Yes.  Employee flu vaccines will be open to all MICA employees and will be coordinated through HR.  Student flu vaccines will be coordinated through Student Affairs

What will be the process for offering proof of a vaccination or obtaining a waiver?

  • Documentation from the facility where vaccination was administered (dated receipt) to HR; Documentation from medical provider stating you are unable to receive flu vaccination to HR;
  • Documentation of other protected restrictions to HR;

If there are questions, please contact HR to discuss details.

What should staff do if they are told their office is reopening and they aren’t comfortable with returning?

They should complete an Alternate Work Arrangement form to document the concern and request.  This information will be shared with HR and the department to determine if alternate arrangements are possible.

Regarding the Alternative Work Schedule form, does everyone need to complete that form?

No. If you are currently telecommuting and do not need to come on campus in order to perform the functions of your job, there is no need to complete the form.  However, if your job requires you to be on campus and you are requesting an alternate work arrangement, you will need to complete the form.

The site says there is support for individuals who are at higher risk. What does that support look like for a staff member whose job is dependent on them being on premises?

Thoroughly researched and defined safety protocols, PPE, hand sanitizer, cleaning products and signage is/will be provided to all that will work onsite.  There is also continued support and resources available through the EAP.

Do supervisor(s) determine who qualifies to work from home?

Divisional leadership including the direct supervisor will determine roles that can effectively work from home. These determinations should be consistently applied.  If there are concerns, employees should work with departmental/divisional leadership and/or HR.

There is an expectation that all employees that can work from home and do not need to be at work in order to perform the functions of their job continue to work from home.

Can arrangements be made directly with a supervisor if there are no additional accommodations or supports needed from MICA?

This is not recommended. HR recommends that an alternate work arrangement form be completed and sent to HR for processing. This will ensure that the request was reviewed and processed consistently. 

This doesn’t seem consistent within the website - one section states if you are working remotely you will continue to do so and another section states to complete the form.

This would only be necessary if your job cannot be performed remotely or if you would like to make an ADA request through HR and our provider, The Hartford.

If public schools are not conducting in-person classes, or operating on a limited schedule, and we are responsible for a dependent, can the dependent come to work with us?

Employees should not bring their children to work, especially now with the pandemic.

Will MICA consider a local professional organization from Baltimore to lead workshops and discussions around Title IX and Title VII issues?

We are working with representatives of the college to review the RFP to select trainers for the Title IX review of processes and procedures in addition to community training.  We will also look into training on Title VII.

What happens to staff after students leave at Thanksgiving?

We do not know at this time what will occur after Thanksgiving.  That will be determined by leadership and the needs of the college at that time.

Campus Safety

When will we know building hours for certain so we can plan access schedules? 

From July 20 - August 3, Academic Buildings will be accessible by card swipe on weekdays from 8:00 am-3:00 pm. More information about evening hours will be provided at a later date as we know some staff and faculty will need to start prepping their spaces for on-campus learning. There will be no building access on weekends until the fall semester starts.

Building operating hours for the fall semester are still being finalized because the hours will be based on the needs of the students who are physically on campus taking classes. Those numbers are not yet known. However, graduate students should anticipate having their normal 24-hour access to Lazarus Center, Fox Building and Brown Center.   

Campus Services

Can you give us an update on Postal Services?  How do we get our mail?

Beginning July 20, Postal & Print Services will expand open-door hours for mail pickup/dropoff to two days: Monday and Wednesday, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm.  We will continue to send mail to departmental designated staff who are working remotely if they want their mail that way. The mailroom staff are in the office Monday through Friday, so anyone who is on campus or visiting campus on “closed-door” days and has a special mailing need may email them at postalandprint@mica.edu or call 410-225-2202 for individualized service.


Will we be able to have in-person events?

Transmission of COVID-19 at events and in performance spaces are the highest risk of mass infection. Until the risk of transmission is very low, no in-person events of significance should be taking place on campus.  In fact, the Office of Events highly recommends that there be no in-person events until further notice.  We will be happy to offer Zoom support and training for your online events.

The Office of Events is not accepting any request for on-campus space rental (including outdoor spaces) nor any partnered or co-sponsored events. Event requests will only be considered if they are MICA produced, internal events. 

Do Vice Presidents and Directors make all the events decisions?

  1. Hosts must submit the event to 25Live along with the requested location and the total number of expected attendees at least 2 weeks prior to the event.
  2. The Office of Events will work with the hosts to make sure it follows all current policies regarding social distancing, capacity, and other concerns
  3. The Office of Events will reach out to Campus Safety, the appropriate Vice-President, and other offices to discuss any concerns and work with host to ameliorate those issues.
  4. The Office of Events will bring the event to the appropriate Vice President or Provost for final approval.

Will events have a rubric to follow, or just social distancing?

A Campus Safety Officer must be present at all scheduled social gatherings.  The Office of Events will create and post signage at every event with the current restrictions for that event along with MICA’s policy for dealing with patrons who break those policies.

(This is subject to change at any time based on current conditions)

Who has the final say on visitors?

Events on campus should be planned with little to no involvement outside of the MICA Community (lecturers/speakers example of exception).  We are in the process of developing a proposed policy for the different types of visitors. (Vendors, Classroom guests, etc.)