March 14 Student Memo

Follow up to President Hoi's memo about the impact of COVID-19 on campus operations with information specific to graduate students.

Dear Graduate Students,

I am writing today to follow up on the recent campus-wide memos from President Sammy Hoi and Provost David Bogen, to highlight details related to Graduate Studies, and to address some issues you may find helpful and important. 

Due to the fact that the COVID-19 impact is rapidly evolving in the state of Maryland, what I share in the following bullet points is subject to change. Please understand that these extraordinary pandemic circumstances demand extraordinary measures. Even so, we are committed to finding the right balance between ensuring the health and safety of our community, while maintaining educational completion and continuity. Continue to refer to MICA’s COVID-19 Information site for the latest updates.

Based on information available to me as of Friday, March 13, the following conditions apply:

On-Campus Housing

  • Any graduate students residing in on-campus housing should refer to the March 12 memo sent by the Office of Residence Life to clarify move-out timetables.

  • Students with exceptional needs requiring campus housing beyond March 21 (for non-graduating students) or March 28 (for graduating students) should contact the Office of Residence Life immediately via this form. Graduate and international students who need on-campus housing will receive priority consideration. 

Travel Guidelines

  • For non-College-related travel, all faculty, staff, and students are urged to consult the CDC’s current travel guidelines and use sound judgement. In keeping with the campus-wide memo from March 11, any students, faculty, or staff who elect to travel outside a 50-mile radius of campus are expected to self-quarantine for fourteen (14) days before returning to campus. It is highly recommended that if any students travel outside the 50-mile range, they be prepared not to return to campus, as the pandemic situation is rapidly evolving so it is possible that access to studio and/or buildings may no longer be available.

Studio/Workspace Occupancy & Facilities Assistance

  • Provided students adhere to the above travel guidelines, ALL graduate students have regular access to their studios and workspaces during the extended Spring Break/intensive making period (March 16 through March 27). Students based in the MICA/JHU Film Centre should refer to their facility-specific memo from March 12.

  • Members of the Class of 2020 have priority access to fabrication spaces (FLIV Wood Shop and Grad Lab) so they can complete studio work necessary to earn their degree. The FLIV Wood Shop will be open Mon-Fri, 9 am through 5 pm, through March 27. The Grad Lab will operate on its regular schedule (60 hours/week, 7 days/week), through March 30.  

  • MICA plans to transition into an online and alternate educational delivery mode after the extended Spring Break, on or about March 30. Specific information about the delivery of graduate courses will be forthcoming from your directors and faculty next week or very soon thereafter.

  • Studios and workspaces will remain accessible to graduate students after March 30. Note that in the rapidly evolving pandemic situation, studios may eventually become inaccessible, so students are encouraged to use the days prior to March 30th to bring thesis or final studio projects to completion. 

  • Students who feel healthy, follow travel policies, and wish to keep working in their campus studios are encouraged to employ responsible social distancing and good hygiene measures while working on campus. Non-essential on-campus gatherings of more than twenty-five (25) people must be canceled, postponed, or transitioned to virtual formats.

  • Note that the previously scheduled floor refinishing project in Lazarus Center has been cancelled; all entryways will be accessible as usual for the duration of Spring Break.

  • Students who decide to move out of their studios before March 30, should contact Operations Coordinator Malvina D’Alterio (mdalterio@mica.edu) as soon as possible. Dumpsters and extra garbage cans have been made available for those who need them.

OTHER IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATIONS

  • MICA Facilities Management will execute a campus-wide deep cleaning during the extended Spring Break.

  • The published calendar deadlines and activities for END GAME are suspended. The END GAME schedule will be revised and the updated communication will be sent to students after the extended Spring Break.

  • We are committed to maintaining graduate student employment, though specific job tasks may change with the input of directors and other relevant campus departments and services. Details will be forthcoming in the days ahead.

  • The traditional gallery-based-exhibition-with-reception model for GRAD SHOW has been suspended. Graduate directors are currently considering alternatives, while also prioritizing the requirements for the degree. (Note: while MICA has a tradition of public thesis exhibitions, that is not a requirement for a degree; in art and design master’s programs, “a body of work” is the requirement.)

  • The status of Commencement and other institution-wide events will be determined at a later date by MICA leadership (not just Graduate Studies).

NEXT STEPS

Graduate Studies remains committed to the foundational principles guiding MICA’s response to this unfolding pandemic, as outlined in President Sammy Hoi’s campus-wide memo on March 11: our tenet of MICA as a community of care; our mandate of educational continuity and completion; and our need to prepare a plan for escalation. 

  • With these principles in mind, we encourage members of our graduate community to remain vigilant, patient, and execute self-care and sound judgment. 

  • Note that many/most services normally represented in our Common Ground space on the Lower Level of Lazarus Center, including the Counseling Center, are transitioning to online appointments. For appointments or guidance, please contact those resources directly via the contact information provided on the Common Ground site.

While I realize that this message will not address every question you may have about what lies ahead, please know that the Graduate Studies staff is committed to providing information and support to you and your programs during this transition period. 

With all good wishes,

Stacey Salazar
Interim Vice Provost