Reopen: MICA's Fall 2020 All-Online Opening

Returning to Campus & Academic Year Start

The College will begin its gradual resumption of on-campus activities through a phased approach

in order to prioritize work and instruction that requires physical presence on campus and best protects individual health and safety. All phases will incorporate the public health and safety protocols outlined throughout the reopening plan and will culminate with the return of some students to campus. The difference in the phases will be in the number of people physically on campus as well as the scope of activities permitted on campus.

MICA will utilize three distinct reopening phases as described below. Although dates have been attached to the phases as a guidance tool, completion of each phase depends on state and local guidance, COVID-19 testing, rates of confirmed cases, vaccine development and other public health measures. Physical presence on campus during the 2020-21 academic year will be different in many ways from the past and those returning should expect changes in day-to-day operations.

Phase 1 - Initial Reopening

Begins July 20, 2020

During this initial phase, every department/office/program should follow on-campus activity levels as based on its applicable divisional plans. In accordance with these divisional plans and subject to the approval of the respective Vice President, supervisors will have the discretion to determine which employees can continue to work remotely based on scope of work responsibilities and which employees need to be physically present on campus to support critical operations and instruction.

It is expected that all employees in non-academic divisions who can work effectively remotely without compromising the nature of that work should continue to do so. The presence of faculty and staff on campus will be determined by the need to prepare for class instruction and scheduling as well as the nature of work. In this phase, the majority of MICA employees should continue working remotely. For employees who are returning to the workplace, alternating days and/or creating shifts and staggered schedules should be employed to the extent possible to limit the number of employees present at one time.

MICA will continue to be closed to the public during Phase 1. However, divisions are allowed to develop specified categories of outside visitors and guests who are considered critical to college operations and instruction (contractors, vendors, community partners, etc.). Every effort should be made to engage with outside visitors remotely, but if an in-person campus visit is absolutely necessary, an appointment should be scheduled in advance and the health and safety protocols must be followed. Campus Safety must be notified in advance for all approved outside visitors and hosts must follow Campus Safety visitation instructions.

Phase 2 - Intermediate Reopening

Begins August 3, 2020

During this second phase, which will begin on August 3, the number of people and activities on campus may increase, but caution and the primary protocols will still take precedence. Final decisions regarding who should be permitted to return to work on campus during this Phase 2 should be approved by the applicable Vice-President or designee for each division.

Additionally, campus conditions will need to be monitored and assessed closely so that swift action can be implemented should MICA experience cases of the virus on campus or locally. If on-campus or localized outbreaks emerge, tighter restrictions, including reduced physical presence and activities, may need to be implemented again.

Campus divisions should consider the following to continue to limit the number of individuals on campus:

  • Remote Work. Those employees who can continue to complete work remotely without compromising the nature of that work should do so.
  • Alternating Days or Shifts. In order to limit the number of individuals on campus and interactions among them, divisions should consider scheduling partial on-campus activity on alternating days and/or based on shifts. This will be especially relevant for offices on campus where employees work in close proximity to each other. These schedules will also help with physical distancing in common areas.
  • Staggered Schedules and Arrival/Departure. The beginning and end of the workday typically bring many people together at common entry/exit points of buildings. While staggering class schedules and breaks will be addressed in Phase 1 for students, divisions are strongly encouraged to use staggered arrival and departure times for staff (by 15 to 30 minutes) to reduce traffic in common areas and meet physical distancing requirements.

MICA will be partially open to the public during Phase 2. Divisions are allowed to continue hosting specified categories of outside visitors and guests who are considered critical to college operations and instruction and when remote meetings are not feasible to the work that needs to be completed (i.e.: contractor site visits; vendors who operate on campus, etc.). Divisions may also host limited in-person meetings, programs and other small events that are deemed essential and approved by the applicable Vice President or designee for each division. In the case of any in-person meeting, visit or other types of public interfacing, all members of the public on campus must follow the protocols for face coverings, physical distancing and gathering restrictions required for MICA staff and faculty as outlined in this reopening plan. Divisions are permitted to expand the specific categories of outside visitors to those considered important to college operations and instruction with appropriate justification. Campus Safety must be notified in advance for all approved outside visitors and hosts must follow Campus Safety visitation instructions.

Phase 3 – Studio Access Begins

August 24

Students with individually assigned studios can begin using them on August 24.

The academic year begins on August 31 with flexibility in its instructional approach that strongly upholds MICA’s educational standards. The approach includes the following important features:

  • Maximizing online and remote options for teaching/learning;
  • Emphasizing low-density learning contexts and public health;
  • Maximizing options for individuals who require/seek learning and work adjustments; and
  • Providing a clear process for requesting and obtaining adjustments.

This includes the return of students to the physical campus, but modifications will be in place to reduce public health risks and respond to ongoing state and local guidance and mandates. Employees will return to the workplace except for those who have been identified as appropriate for working remotely; those who have been identified to work an alternating remote/workplace schedule; or those who have received an accommodation or an approved adjustment to work from home on a case-by-case basis.