Parent FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions from parents about the COVID-19 global pandemic and its impact on MICA's operations and academic programs.

Updated April 1, 2020

During this unprecedented world health pandemic, MICA understands how uncertain and difficult this time is, and is working to help you make these transitions with as little disruption possible. If your questions are not answered in the FAQ below, please see our contact page, for different offices on campus that will be able to assist you further. Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time.

Academics 

Q: When will online classes start?

Starting Monday, March 30 and through the completion of the semester, classes will transition to remote and alternate modes of educational delivery in undergraduate and graduate programs. Faculty used the extended break period to rework syllabi and redesign assignments to prepare for this transition. Students can expect revised course syllabi from their faculty on or around March 30.

Q: How will information about individual classes and online learning plans be sent to students?

Faculty are working to adapt syllabi to “Keep on Teaching” and will be in touch with their students on or before Monday, March 30, 2020, when remote and alternate instruction begins.

Q: What is the plan for teaching and learning since so much of MICA’s curriculum involves studio instruction?

Instructors will be assigning projects that are portable, and don’t require access to the MICA campus.  They will be using a suite of tools, including the Canvas learning management system, email, zoom for meetings, and other tools for online and remote instruction.  They will be in touch with students by March 30. Please check your @mica.edu email or your WeChat account.

Q. Will my student need a Zoom account or other type of video conferencing account to meaningfully participate in online instruction?

All students currently have access to the Canvas platform and can easily access Zoom through the free web-based service. Other appropriate tools and technologies necessary for remote and alternate learning will be provided as necessary at no additional costs to students or families.

Q. How/when will the class selection process for the summer/fall semester occur?

We plan to be in touch with all students and parents over the summer period with updates on class selection and other information related to the start of Fall Semester.

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College Operations 

Q: Are offices at MICA open?

The College is pivoting to remote and alternate access wherever possible. This will look different office-by-office and each office will communicate via their website or other vehicles what their adjusted hours and access are.

Q: How will parents know when new information is available?

Please check www.mica.edu/coronavirus and your @mica.edu email for updates.

Q: What is the status of Commencement?

We will inform families about the status of Commencement by the end of March.

Q. Can my student leave their car parked in Founders Green?

Yes, your student can leave their car parked in Founders Green if they have the “R” parking permit. We would encourage all students to leave their keys with campus security so that they can move your students car just in case.

Q. What is the status of ArtWalk

We will inform families about the status of ArtWalk by the end of March and if there will be an opportunity to showcase student’s artwork at a later date.

Q. Is the college planning to reschedule summer vacation dates and the August start date?

Currently there are no plans to reschedule summer vacation and we are hopeful that we are able welcome all students back to campus in August. Our plans are to keep our students and parents informed over the summer of any changes that may occur.

Q. How will MICA help the seniors get jobs? We were told MICA had a high after-graduation employment ratio

MICA has a fantastic Career Development Office and we encourage all graduating seniors and graduate students to make an appointment with the staff if they have any questions or need guidance. The Career Development Office is a resource not only current students, but for alumni as well.

Q: What is the status of MICA’s Food Studio?

MICA's Food Studio will not operate for the remainder of the spring semester; however, students seeking food assistance can apply to the Angel Fund for grant monies toward the purchase of groceries.  

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Finances: Refunds and Funding Assistance

Q: Will MICA help defray travel and moving costs for students? 

Yes. Students who received need-based financial aid in the 2019-2020 academic year are being provided with $150.00 to defray costs related to College operational changes. The sum will be processed soon, and student recipients will be informed as to how this will be distributed. Qualifying students will automatically receive this funding. There is no application process.

Q: Will students in MICA housing receive credit adjustment based on prorated room and board charges? 

Yes. The refund will come in two stages. In order to provide financial relief to students and their families as soon as possible, all residential students have immediately been issued an initial $500 refund. Checks for this initial housing reimbursement have been physically delivered through Postal and Print and available beginning at noon Wednesday, March 18. Checks must be picked up by 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 19. Refund checks not picked up by that time will be sent to students through the mail. 

All residential students who leave campus for the remainder of the semester will receive an additional prorated refund. MICA is committed to issuing the remainder of their refunds no later than the end of March.

Students and families who elect to do so can donate their refunds to enhance MICA’s MICA’s Angel Fund, which assists students experiencing financial hardship. There will be an opt-in choice for this donation in the forthcoming refund communication.

Q. What about a refund for meal plans for non-residential students? 

Yes. A prorated refund will be issued due to discontinuation of meal services. MICA is committed to issuing the refund no later than the end of March.

Students and families who elect to do so can donate their refunds to enhance MICA’s MICA’s Angel Fund, which assists students experiencing financial hardship. There will be an opt-in choice for this donation in the forthcoming refund communication.

Q: Will MICA refund other fees students have had to pay? (e.g. activity fees, tech fees) 

The College acknowledges this concern, and is in the process of discussing a path forward. 

Q: What other funds exist to address students’ exceptional financial needs? 

Students (domestic and international) who face financial hardship may seek assistance and will be considered on a case-by-case basis for MICA’s Angel Fund for undergraduate students, or MICA’s Scott Kelly Fund for graduate students. All requests should be submitted through MICA’s Angel Fund.

Q: What can students do to help expedite this process? 

Students should be in contact with studentaccounts@mica.edu to explore options about obtaining funds. If funds are to be received by mail, please ensure that Student Accounts has up-to-date mailing information.

Q: Will this impact my tuition? 

MICA is providing prorated refunds for housing and meal plans. We will also be looking at fees that are directly tied to other specific services. Regarding tuition, we are committed to providing a continuous educational experience to all students through alternative means to ensure course and degree completion; accordingly, tuition refunds are not being contemplated.

We ask for your understanding that MICA is paying faculty, staff and key support service providers per our budget plan to continue to deliver education and operate in remote and alternate modes. While the COVID-19 global pandemic has caused unprecedented adjustments, the College’s focus on a quality education remains unwavering.

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International Students 

Q: How are International Students I-20s impacted?

Under normal circumstances, international students would need to pay a new SEVIS fee if they're outside of the U.S. for more than five months. However, the US government has recently announced that F1 students can continue to stay enrolled in classes by completing courses online. As long as international students stay enrolled through spring 2020 and enroll in the fall 2020 semester, the five month rule will not affect them. International students will be able to return to the US with their current I-20.

The five-month period is not based on the date of the travel signature, it is based on being outside of the US as well as full time enrollment. It is best for international students to have a travel signature on their I-20 when they return to the US; however, International Education will be able to mail one to international students if they need one before fall 2020. We will send more communication about this after the semester ends.

Q: If international students need support or have questions, whom should they contact?

International students should contact the Office of International Education at internationaleducation@mica.edu if they have additional questions. As you can imagine, this office has received a huge volume of visits over the past two weeks, and the staff are committed to working with every individual student to assure that they have the best information and guidance regarding immigration compliance, OPT and other crucial elements of their international educational experience. 

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Residential Questions & Extension Information 

Q: Will residential students without alternative housing options be allowed to stay in MICA’s on-campus housing?

All residential students have been notified with the information below.

Students who wish to request such consideration were asked to complete and submit the extension request form by 4:00 pm on Wednesday, March 18. Decisions on extension requests are being issued on a rolling basis beginning Tuesday the 17th. More than 100 requests have been received, and all initial decisions were issued this week, but we are still reviewing a few complicated cases that provided additional information and asked for reconsideration.

Extension requests are being reviewed collaboratively by Residence Life, International Education, Financial Aid, and Student Wellness. The following criteria are being used to review requests, although decisions will still be made on a case-by-case basis:

  1. International students with restricted travel mobility in home country – travel bans, locked borders, entry quarantines (conditions and expense).

  2. International students with no safe place to return – home, region, or country with high rates of COVID-19; places where it would be potentially dangerous for the student to return and risk exposure and sickness.

  3. International student status and OPT: F1 students must stay in the US in order to participate in OPT after graduation.  

  4. International or domestic student with an on-going health condition that requires monitoring and treatment, including any student with a compromised immune system  that prevents travel.

  5. Domestic students with high financial need or housing insecurity.

  6. Other requests will be considered case-by-case.

Q. My students want and are able to go home, but their travel plans have been delayed past March 21. Will they be able to stay on campus until they can leave?

In addition to those who want to stay for the remainder of the semester, some students want to go home but are unable to do so by March 21 and may need a few additional days due to the specifics of their travel plans. Those students should immediately contact the Office of Residence Life. Reasonable requests due to extraordinary hardship to stay will be considered.

Q: Will students be able to return to campus before the end of the semester to pick up personal belongings they’ve left?

Once the move-out process has been completed, The Office of Residence Life will communicate with those students and families who previously left belongings. It is likely that communication will not take place until late March or early April. We understand that this will be complicated to plan and will provide as much flexibility as is possible. Families should anticipate retrieving their personal items no later than May 10th, 2020.

Q: How will this impact applications for 2020-2021 housing?

We look forward to welcoming back our residential community. Our attention now is focused on the orderly exit of our current residents. The Office of Residence Life will begin communications about plans for students to choose their on-campus housing within the next several weeks.

Q. For students who have to break off-campus rental agreements to return home, is there legal assistance they can consult with to work with the landlord/agent?

The general advice is to continue paying rent and putting everything in escrow. Start the conversation immediately with the landlord/agent about breaking the lease (which likely requires a 60 day notice). Most leases do not cover this type of situation; therefore, off-campus students will most likely have to continue paying for their full rental terms. Here is a resource: http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/Pages/CPD/landlords.aspx.

Q. As the students are gradually leaving, will the school maintain the security of its premises and vicinity?

Yes, MICA will continue to have security present during this time to make sure that our properties and premises are secured at all times.

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Student Employment

Q: Will jobs and pay continue for student employees this semester? 

  • Work-Study students will receive continued pay based on scheduled hours.

  • Graduate Teaching Internship (GTI) and Graduate Program Assistantship (GPA) commitments will be honored by the College as they were part of the condition for graduate student enrollment. If their original GTI and GPA duties no longer apply, MICA will find alternate ways for these students to work and get paid.

  • Job continuity for other student employment (whether hourly or stipend-based) will be determined by supervisors. If the work is needed, and if students can and wish to work locally or remotely, the jobs will continue. In some cases, the jobs may no longer be viable and will be discontinued. 

  • Any student who has a financial hardship due to lost work is encouraged to submit a request through MICA’s Angel Fund for consideration.

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Studio & Shop Access

Undergraduate Students:

  • There is no longer access to shops for making work. Any studio extension time has been cancelled for public health reasons. The primary activity now is packing and staying safe. 

  • If students cannot move their belongings, we are adopting a “store it in place” philosophy. We understand this is an extremely stressful situation for everyone.

  • All undergraduate students (including Spring Class of 2020 seniors) who want to take their belongings with them must clear them out of studios and shops by March 21 by 4pm. If students have traveled outside a 50-mile range from MICA, they should not return to campus as the pandemic situation is rapidly evolving and when they return their studio and/or building may no longer be accessible.

  • Building hours for move out activities are 8am to 11pm generally.

  • Students who are able to pack but cannot remove their belongings by March 21 should box/wrap/label belongings with their name and ID number. Leave items in studios for pick up at a future time, and ideally contact the Department Chair.

  • If students are already off campus, a friend may assist with packing and labeling, but this activity is not required.

  • Students who cannot come in to pack, or who have special packing needs, or who need to leave belongings: please contact your Department Chair.

Graduate Students:

  • This week and next, March 16 - 21 and March 23 – 27, graduate students will have access to program workspaces and individual studios to pack up work, gather belongings, and otherwise prepare to depart. This is not a time for making work, this is a time for preparing to leave.

  • Directors have been granted some latitude in organizing how their program's space will be closed up as long as this work is completed by March 27. Graduate students should work thoughtfully with their directors to close up the program space in the safest most efficient way possible.

  • Ideally, grad students will be out of their studios and the program facilities will be closed and locked by March 21. We recognize that one week may not be sufficient time, however. Therefore, directors and graduate students have next week, through Friday March 27, to organize for leaving.

    • Students should take what they need from their studio/workspace to continue their work off campus.

    • Students may elect to leave things in their studios/workspaces -- that is, to "store in place" their studio/workspace contents. 

    • Whatever is "stored in place" will not be accessible until buildings/studios reopen at some future (as yet unknown) date. Therefore, students are encouraged to take as much as possible with them now. 

    • Program students and their director will work together to "store in place" any work by program students who are unable to return before March 27. 

    • Graduate students who were unable to access their studio/spaces this week due to travel, and next week, due to mandatory self-quarantine, may arrange for studio access sometime after March 27, on a case-by-case basis, depending upon the global health conditions.

  • When closing up graduate program common spaces, such as seminar rooms or multi-purpose design spaces, be sure to leave tables and chairs clear of debris, and all personal items stored away. This will allow for the best possible cleaning. 

  • Equipment

    • Students may not take any MICA equipment off campus. 

    • Students must return Grad Lab equipment as the usual policy states. Please see Grad Lab hours here.

  • The Office of Graduate Studies will be open with a minimal staff through March 21 in order to support students. And of course, staff members are available via email 9:00 - 5:00 weekdays throughout the coming weeks.

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Study Abroad 

Q: What is the status of current study abroad programs?

On Saturday March 14, MICA suspended all student study abroad and exchange programs outside of our program in Italy, which was previously suspended on February 27. All of these study abroad students are being asked to return from these programs and to participate in remote and alternate modes of learning, with details determined on case-by-case depending on the program. International Education is working directly with each of those students on their return plan.

MICA will be reimbursing students in those programs for all documented travel expenses associated with this unprecedented situation.

Q: What is the status of future study abroad programs including Summer Travel Intensives?

MICA has canceled all Summer Travel Intensives scheduled for 2020. All program deposits will be refunded. Please know that this decision was made after much thought and deliberation and that our highest priority is to protect students’ safety and welfare. Factors, such as CDC and Department of State travel advisories, the WHO declaring a pandemic and the US declaration of a national emergency, combined with MICA policy and emergency risk management protocol all weighed into this determination. MICA hopes to resume travel programming in summer 2021.

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COVID-19 and Health Services Questions 

Q: Are there any confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus? 

As of April 1, no. 

Q: How will parents and students know if someone on campus has tested positive for COVID-19?

The College will send a memo to the community if a positive test is returned.

Q: How will students know if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive?

State and/or local Health departments will notify any community member who may have been exposed with guidance and next steps.

Q: What preventative measures is MICA taking?

The College has taken a number of preventative measures over the last few months, including increased cleaning and sanitization, bringing home students from abroad, and transitioning to online classes. Visit mica.edu/coronavirus for more information about the steps MICA has taken.

Q: What does quarantine / self-quarantine mean?

Quarantine means staying in a specific designated location (i.e., assigned housing, home) away from others for the purpose of observing and monitoring your health status for the development of symptoms. Typically, a COVID-19-related quarantine lasts for a 14-day period after a possible exposure. Quarantine is used for people who are not sick and is similar to, but not the same as, isolation, which is used when a person is sick.  

Q: What counseling and health support resources will be available as MICA moves to online instruction?

Student counseling recommends this article, which provides useful guidance and concrete suggestions for self-care. As additional resources:

Additionally, while the Counseling Center is working remotely, it will continue to support MICA students and can be reached by phone at: 410-225-2367 or via email at: counseling@mica.edu.

MICA's Student Health Center staff will provide remote support for students with ongoing health care needs. Students are requested to contact Student Health at 410.225.4118 or healthservices@mica.edu where clinical staff will be available to address any concerns, including but not limited to, medication  management, supportive health care, and any acute issues needing medical attention.   

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Other

Q: If I have a question not contained in this FAQ, who should I contact?

Please visit the website for a complete list of contacts.

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