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CSM To Require Indoor Masking for Fall Semester in Response to Rising Number of COVID-19 Cases in Region

August 16, 2021
hawk with mask

CSM To Require Indoor Masking for Fall Semester in Response to Rising Number of COVID-19 Cases in Region

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) announces it is postponing its transition to Phase 4: Normal Operations and will remain in Phase 3: Reduced Operations in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and increased positivity rates in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties. This delayed shift in operations means faculty, staff and students will be required to wear masks indoors on all campuses at all times, effective immediately.

“We are firmly in year two of this global pandemic and we’ve learned a lot,” CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy told faculty and staff during a college-wide forum Aug. 13. “We know a little more about how this virus behaves and we’ve learned how to work safely around it. With the numbers of infections on the rise, we will do our part to respond to the metrics, create the safest possible environment, and make universal indoor masking a requirement. For now, masking is really the only significant change students will see in our fall plans.”

“It is an understatement to say that the CSM community had been looking forward to things being closer to ‘normal’ for the fall semester which begins Aug. 25,” added CSM Vice President of Operations and Planning Dr. Bill Comey. “But as cases and hospitalizations rise in our area, we believe it is best to be cautious.”  

            For students, faculty and staff not much will change from how we have been operating this summer, Comey said. The following health and safety guidelines will remain in effect until further notice:

  • Masks must be worn at all times while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. 
  • All students and employees must take the COVID-19 Self-Assessment in the CSM Safe app before coming to campus and be prepared to show their green QR code when requested.* 
  • Student services and instruction will continue to be mostly virtual, with some classes and services available on campus in larger spaces for safety. Therefore, classes that were already scheduled to meet on-campus will continue to meet on-campus. If there is a change, students will be notified by their instructor.
  • CSM new fall campus hours will remain in effect but visitors and students should check a department’s office hours to make sure that department is open prior to visiting one of the campuses.

CSM’s Student Life will move forward with organizing a number of outdoor events for the fall and those opportunities to gather as a community will following social distancing guidelines.

While CSM does not require universal COVID-19 vaccination, faculty, staff and students are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated. Vaccinated students can enter to win prizes, with CSM’s #VaxUpHawks COVID-19 Vaccine Challenge.

The public can monitor CSM’s operational status at csmd.edu/ready/covid-19/.  Please visit the website often for resources and updates. CSM remains in close contact with local, state and federal authorities, and will share information as quickly as possible when and if operating conditions change.

Students should make sure they are monitoring their CSM student email accounts, as well as the MyLearning course shells for their individual courses, and stay in close contact with their professors if they have any questions about their courses.

Anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or any other flu-like symptoms (e.g. sore throat, body ache, congestion) should not come to CSM campuses. Anyone exhibiting these symptoms will be required to leave campus immediately.

* Students and their families are encouraged to download the free “CSM Safe App” for iOS (Apple) and Android devices. Those without internet access or smart phones can contact the CSM Public Safety and Preparedness Department at any CSM campus locations during fall campus hours. To contact campus security at the La Plata Campus, call 301-934-7888 or from a campus phone on ext. 7909. Contact campus security at the Leonardtown Campus at 240-725-5333 or from a campus phone on ext. 5333. To contact campus security at the Prince Frederick Campus, call 443-550-6033 or from a campus phone at ext. 6033. At the Regional Hughesville Campus, security questions or concerns can be directed to 301-539-4898.

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