Reopen: MICA's Fall 2020 All-Online Opening

Employee and Learning Support

Supporting our Faculty, Staff, and Students

The college is aware that some members of our community face a greater risk than others from COVID-19. Faculty, staff, and students who have concerns about their individual circumstances are encouraged to consult with their supervisors and Human Resources (faculty and staff) or the Learning Resource Center (students) to discuss the process for seeking accommodations or adjustments-to-work or to-learning, as warranted.

Adjustments to Work and Learning

Based upon CDC guidance, some people may be at higher-risk of experiencing negative COVID-19 outcomes due to personal health factors or medical conditions and feel anxious or uncomfortable about returning to campus. Others may have individual circumstances beyond personal health factors that are equally concerning and cause reluctance to return to campus. MICA is a community of care and has developed a process for members of the campus community to request reasonable, temporary adjustments to the work or learning environment to help address these concerns and balance campus operational needs with individual needs.

Employee and Student Disability Accommodations

The disease COVID-19 is a medical condition and like other illnesses and medical conditions can cause significant functional impairments that meet the threshold for disability under federal and state laws. Faculty, staff or students who are experiencing personal health or medical conditions related to COVID-19 or to any other health concerns may follow existing disability accommodation processes to request reasonable accommodations to their work or learning environment.

Information for faculty and staff on disability accommodations may be found on the Human Resources website or by contacting Human Resources via phone 410-225-2363 or email humanresources@mica.edu. Information for students on disability accommodations for academics or housing may be found on the Learning Resource Center (LRC) website or by contacting the LRC via phone 410-225-2416 or email lrc@mica.edu.

Alternate Work Arrangement Guidelines

The College is committed to helping employees face the demands of working in the COVID-19 environment, family obligations, and personal restrictions/concerns by offering a number of possible flexible work arrangements. These arrangements provide employees with increased flexibility with their work arrangements while allowing the College to maintain operations and a positive education experience for students.

All staff and faculty requesting a flexible or alternative work arrangement will be considered on a case-by-case basis in situations where creative work schedules have been shown to accomplish both work and personal needs, to provide coverage for individual department operations and to serve the College as a whole with enhanced productivity at no expense to quality output.

Human Resources will partner with the department supervisor/manager to review the employee’s request and determine if the request or other options are workable within the department. To determine whether an employee's request for an individual alternative work arrangement is appropriate, the supervisor/manager must assess the impact and the outcome in terms of the essential functions of the role and student experience, and if the request is in the best interest of the department, College and the employee.

An employee wishing to change or cancel an alternative work arrangement must obtain written approval from their supervisor/manager.

Alternate/Flexible work arrangements are not appropriate for all employees or positions and are not a universal employee benefit. In order for an alternate work arrangement to be approved, the employee must have a satisfactory attendance record, meet all performance expectations in their current role. The nature of the employee's work and responsibilities must be conducive to an alternate/flexible work arrangement without causing significant disruption to performance and/or service delivery. Download the Alternate Work Arrangement PDF form.

Support for Individual Circumstances

The College also recognizes that some members of our community may not fall within the CDC’s categories for “higher risk” for developing severe illness due to COVID-19 but may have other reasonable concerns about returning to campus due to their individual circumstances. The following list, which is not exhaustive, defines reasonable circumstances for requesting adjustments:

  • Individuals may have members of their household who fall into a higher risk category
  • Individuals impacted by childcare availability
  • Individuals living outside a 100-mile radius who may be impacted by transportation safety and availability
  • Individuals with moderate to severe asthma

Adjustments to Learning

Some students may wish to submit a request to take classes partially or fully online in fall 2020 for a variety of reasons.

Based upon CDC guidance, some students may be at higher-risk of experiencing negative COVID-19 outcomes due to personal health factors or medical conditions and feel anxious or uncomfortable about returning to campus. Others may have individual circumstances beyond personal health factors that are equally concerning and cause reluctance to return to campus. MICA is a community of care and has developed a streamlined process for students to request partially or fully online course schedules for the fall semester to help address these concerns and balance curricular requirements with individual needs.

Students who fall in the CDC higher risk categories or who have individual circumstances making it challenging to return to campus are asked to do the following:

  1. complete the Learning Resource Center’s Student Online Adjustment Request Form for fall semester adjustments to learning, meaning a request for a partially or fully online course load. This form will not require formal documentation; and
  2. contact your academic advisor to determine (a) the instruction methods for your current fall courses, and (b) what alternative courses are being taught online that would meet your degree plan requirements and individual health and safety needs. Most Liberal Arts courses will be offered primarily online in the fall, though not all courses can be offered online and degree plans may need to be revised.

Support for Individuals at Higher Risk

The CDC, based on what is currently known, identifies people in the following categories as being at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19:

  • People 65 years and older
  • People of all ages with underlying medical condition, particularly if not well controlled, including
  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • People who have serious heart conditions
  • People who are immunocompromised (CDC notes that many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune-weakening medications)
  • People with severe obesity (BMI of 40 or higher)
  • People with diabetes
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • People with liver disease

Employee Mental Health and Wellbeing

MICA realizes that the impact of COVID-19 may be stressful for members of the community, especially those with family and friends who are affected. Here are some resources that can be of support during this time.

HealthAdvocate, MICA's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Work/Life program partner, provides comprehensive COVID-19 resources to support you and your family. The (EAP) and Work/Life program offers three free counseling visits and financial and legal resources. All of these services are completely free, confidential and you do not need to participate in MICA's health plan. For more information, click here. To send your questions to Human Resources, click here.

Shared Spaces Practices

Minimize sharing of breakroom items such as appliances, utensils and serveware.

Reduce community sharing of food such as Coffee, Condiments, Bulk Items.

Remove conference phones and encourage the use of personal mobile phones or laptops for remote attendees

Discourage use of shared printers/copiers and encourage electronic paperwork

Travel

Per CDC guidance, anyone who has travelled internationally will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.