Dear MICA community members,
I am writing to share that, despite best intentions and efforts, MICA will not reopen the campus per the plan announced on July 6. Instead, our Fall 2020 semester will be delivered in online mode and the physical campus will remain closed.
MICA has been diligently observing a set of key principles while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, with the top priority being the health, safety, and wellness of our campus members. We have also been making decisions based on the best information available while thinking through multiple scenarios, in order to adapt agilely and act responsibly. It is in adherence to these principles that we have made the very difficult decision to keep the campus closed this fall. No decision has been made regarding the Spring 2021 semester at this time.
The public health crisis has escalated in recent weeks with alarming speed in our nation, region, and our own city of Baltimore. As the U.S. approaches 5 million coronavirus cases, Dr. Deborah Birx who oversees the White House COVID-19 response warned on August 2 that the nation had reached a new and more widespread phase of the pandemic. On July 29, the State of Maryland, which has seen a surge in coronavirus cases among people between ages 20 and 39, expanded mask-wearing mandates and announced state travel restrictions. And on July 24, Baltimore’s rising COVID-19 positivity rate reached a seven-day average for new cases per day of 126. In comparison, on July 5, it was 67. At the previous peak in May, it was 124.
This reality is in stark contrast to the much more promising trends in health metrics in May and June that supported campus reopening for Fall 2020. Given these changed public health circumstances, a fully online Fall 2020 term becomes our only responsible choice. The extraordinary work accomplished by our faculty and staff to ready MICA for a fall reopening will help advance our planning for an on-campus Spring 2021 semester.
The Fall 2020 semester will begin as scheduled on August 31, with all classes delivered in online mode. Students who have a significant housing-related hardship can request permission to stay on-campus this Fall in limited numbers. Such residential students will also attend courses online.
The shift in reopening plan has been shared here as soon as it was made so that students and families who were planning for campus arrival can adjust their travel arrangements immediately. While this difficult decision will disappoint those who were looking forward to an on-campus experience this fall, MICA is a resilient and creative community that will make this online semester an exciting one.
I hope that the specific information at the end of this message will answer for students and families some of your immediate questions. A number of outstanding issues are still being worked out over the next few days, and a more fulsome set of information and FAQs will be posted on our website shortly thereafter.
Additionally, to further provide the MICA community with the information and support needed for your adjustments to the new Fall 2020 plan, we will conduct these meetings:
- Info Sessions for Students and Families
- New Undergraduates: First-Year* and Transfers – Tuesday, August 11, Noon
- *First-Year International (FYI) students met recently and do not need to attend.
- Returning Undergraduates – Tuesday, August 11, 7 p.m.
- All Graduate Students – Thursday, August 13, 10 a.m.
- Town Halls for Employees
- Town Hall for Faculty – Tuesday or Wednesday, August 11/12, time TBA
- Town Hall for Staff – Tuesday, August 11, 10 a.m.
Questions for these meetings can be submitted in advance through registration for the events. Detailed information will be distributed and posted on the MICA website for each audience after each session. Please watch out for the invitations.
I close by thanking you for your understanding that this decision reflects our overarching commitment to protect your health and safety.
I also thank the numerous campus members who, over the past 3 months, have prepared tirelessly to bring our community back on campus and the MICA experience into new and innovative modes of teaching and learning. Because of your excellent work, we have made tremendous advances in our online curriculum and our ability to support students and faculty in this new environment. We stand ready to safely reopen the MICA campus when the public health conditions allow us to do so.
We look forward to welcoming all our new and continuing students when we begin classes on August 31. In the meantime, I send my continued best wishes to all for you and your loved ones’ health and safety.
Jump to a Specific Topic
Fall 2020 Course Schedules and Final Registration
Spring and Summer Terms
Tuition and Fees
Student Health Insurance
Clinical Services for Students
New Student Orientation
Fabrication Studios & Equipment Checkout
Technology: Computer Labs, Software and Help Desk
Access to Campus, the MICA Store & MICA IDs