Dear MICA Students and Families,
We are writing to update you on MICA’s planning for reopening the campus this fall. We expect to share a more detailed plan no later than July 6.
MICA is committed to a safe, responsible, and educationally sound campus reopening. Our approach is being finalized in collaboration with local, state, and national public health agencies, as well as higher education partners. In building this plan, our top priority is the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and front line workers. Teams from across the campus have been working together diligently to reimagine how we teach and learn, how we use our facilities, and how we can deliver the core elements of the MICA educational experience—including essential studio work—while upholding strict public health and safety standards for our community.
Please view the R5 Road Map, announced in May, for a complete account of MICA’s focused, pragmatic, and aspirational strategies for campuswide navigation through the COVID-19 crisis. As you can see from the R5 work group membership, students and faculty have been incorporated into multiple groups to ensure their input. Please also access all pandemic-related information on the regularly updated “MICA and COVID-19” website.
While we are readying the fuller plan for release in July, today we want to provide you some key elements of the final plan:
- On-Time Reopening with Provisions for Late Arrivals: We are planning to re-open the campus and commence instruction on Monday, August 31 in line with the published dates of the 2020-2021 Academic Calendar. Move-in dates for students living on-campus are being finalized, and will be announced in the final plan as will any adjustments to the holiday schedule for the Fall. Given current travel guidelines, students coming to MICA from international locations should expect to undergo a 14-day quarantine period, which will be supported academically through the online delivery of the first two weeks of classes for impacted students. MICA will be able to support students who have travel related or other delays that prevent their arrival through September 7th, which is the end of the period to add classes. In anticipation of prolonged delays in arrival for new international students, a full-semester online option for first-year international undergraduate students will be included in the final plan. Incoming first-year international students should remain in active communication with their Admission counselor and the Office of International Education (email@example.com) regarding their travel plans.
- Reduced density in educational activities, with a mixture of in-person, online/remote, and hybrid instruction: Our educational programs for Fall 2020 will make use of an array of in-person, online/remote, and hybrid (in-person + online/remote) strategies. To reduce physical density for in-person settings, we will prioritize the use of facilities for the essential work of studio practice and hands-on making. All liberal arts courses will move into primarily online and remote modes for the duration of the fall semester to free up spaces for other courses and studio activities. We are currently conducting an analysis of all of the instructional spaces on campus—room by room, shop by shop—to assess their capacity and optimal use under the requirements for physical distancing, air circulation, cleaning regimes, and other elements determined by our “Healthy, Safe, and Sustainable Campus” R5 planning group.
- Reduced density in Residence Halls: Our residence hall operations and policies will make provisions for the realities of campus life under COVID-19. As previously announced, all bedrooms will be single (one person) occupancy. The Residence Life R5 group is also considering the best use of common area spaces and how to minimize points of congestion such as residential elevators and building entrances. A COVID-19 related option has been added to the exemption criteria for the first and second year undergraduate residential requirement. In addition, we are exploring off-campus housing arrangements in case needs arise as a part of our COVID-19 residential and de-densification planning.
- Focus on racial justice and a community of care: In our Fall 2020 reopening planning, we are mindful of the equity principles that should guide how our decisions will impact different individuals and populations. The protests of this summer, marking a tipping point demanding long overdue social and racial justice for Black people in the United States, further inform our work going forward. In line with our vision of a “just, equitable, and joyful world,” the MICA community will work together to confront and dismantle structural racism, and to model a campus where we are able to listen and learn from one another across races and cultures. In addition to the many provisions associated with COVID-19, in July we will be announcing a set of commitments, actions, collaborations, and supports to accelerate MICA’s DEIG work with a focus on our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) community members.
We understand the challenges this moment in history is placing on you, your families, and your communities. We have also heard a spectrum of hopes, concerns, and opinions regarding the campus reopening in Fall 2020. Please be assured that the MICA team is hard at work preparing for a successful, safe, and meaningful reopening this fall to address the reality of COVID-19 while maintaining the integrity of our academic programs and advancing on MICA’s hallmark path of educational, artistic, and social innovation.
We look forward to seeing you in August and wish you continued health and wellness in the meantime.