Return to Campus Plan

Return to Campus Plan

Last Updated: 8/23/2021

The college will follow a data-driven multi-phase plan to gradually return to working and offering classes on campus. The plan’s goals are to protect the health of students and employees; help ensure the well-being of the community; and carefully and deliberately resume campus operations in a safe manner. The plan is not a calendar and does not have fixed dates but is a guide to show the intended path forward.

Our knowledge and understanding of the COVID-19 virus continue to evolve, and our policies and plans will be updated as appropriate as more information becomes available.

CSM Metrics for COVID-19 Phases

CSM has adopted the following metrics based on standards developed by the Harvard Global Health Institute and leading research institutions and foundations studying the COVID-19 virus.

  • Phase 1 – Remote Operational Status [Positivity Rate of 10% or higher AND Case Rate greater than 25]
  • Phase 2 – Restricted Operational Status [Positivity Rate below 10% AND Case Rate of 10.1 to 25]
  • Phase 3 – Reduced Operational Status [Positivity Rate below 5% AND Case Rate of 1 to 10]
  • Phase 4 – Normal Operational Status [Positivity Rate below 3% AND Case Rate of less than 1]
View Current Rates


Core Administrative Concepts

  • Proceed thoughtfully, carefully, and deliberately.
  • Accommodate students and employees who are members of a vulnerable population or who live with someone who is a member of a vulnerable population.
  • Continue telework as much as possible.
  • Develop a return to the campus workplace plan for each administrative unit that includes:
    • Limited in-person services and hours
    • Considerations for a phased return of employees so no more than 50% of the workforce is in the office at any given time. Depending on the size and needs of the workforce, the percentage may vary.
    • Considerations for allowing those employees who can work effectively from home to be the last to return and/or delay their return to campus.
    • Public health practices: face coverings, six feet of physical distancing, cough/sneeze etiquette, hand hygiene.
    • Provisions for hand sanitizer and enhanced cleaning.
    • Instructions to customers on the physical distancing protocol.
    • Availability of remote options.
  • Be ready to adjust based on guidance from the CDC and from state and local health officials.
  • Emphasize social distancing, handwashing, staying home when sick, and use of cloth face coverings as needed.
  • Continue and build on the telework innovations developed in the last few months.
  • Be compassionate and flexible. Supervisors are asked to work with employees who have childcare or other family responsibilities and be mindful of the anxiety felt by employees.

Core Instructional and Learning Concepts

  • Offer on-campus instruction only for courses with learning outcomes that cannot be measured or achieved virtually, such as laboratory and clinical experiences.
  • Implement web-based, hybrid, and real-time technology modes of instruction for the foreseeable future.
  • Off-campus options should be planned for and available in the event that a rebound in local infections necessitates continued physical distancing and to support vulnerable students and staff, students in quarantine or isolation, and students and staff who cannot physically return to campus.
  • Limit the number of attendees for on-campus courses/sections. In all cases, on-campus courses/sections enrollment should be limited to less than 50% capacity of the classroom and also utilize other physical distancing measures. Consider creating multiple sections to reduce numbers.
  • Develop a physical distancing plan for each course that includes:
    • Number of students and faculty present in each session.
    • Length of session.
    • Nature of activities.
    • Mechanisms to conduct student and faculty symptom checks.
    • Public health practices: face coverings, six feet of physical distancing, cough/sneeze etiquette, hand hygiene.
    • Provisions for hand sanitizer and enhanced cleaning.
    • Instructions to participants on the course-specific physical distancing protocol.
    • Availability of remote options.
  • Develop specialized plans for students who are at increased risk due to the occupational nature of their studies. Examples include health professional students and students engaged in out-of-classroom or community-based instruction.
  • Expand simulation experiences to create clinical scenarios for health professional students to practice technical, diagnostic, and exam skills.
  • Develop specialized plans for courses and instruction that do not permit physical distancing and/or involve activities of higher risk.
  • Develop attendance and excused absence policies that acknowledge and support students who become ill without creating barriers and without requiring unnecessary visits to health facilities for documentation of illness.
  • Encourage faculty-student communication regarding health status and any changes in their ability to complete coursework.
  • Identify resources for students with learning disabilities or difficulties with remote learning platforms.


Changes in phases will be determined by guidance and data from the CDC, state government, and local health departments.

All instruction and most college work functions take place remotely. On-campus access restricted to authorized personnel only. Critical employees allowed on-campus in a limited capacity. Priorities include positions that are needed for campus safety, support remote learning, and/or are critical for the ongoing operation of the college.

Almost all instruction and most college work functions take place in a blended or virtual environment. On-campus instructional opportunities are offered for courses with learning outcomes that cannot be measured or achieved remotely, such as certain laboratory and clinical experiences. Most college employees will work blended or remote schedules based on department need.  Student support services are open for reduced hours, including some evenings. Appointments are highly encouraged.  

Restricted Operational Status Guidelines

illustration of temperaturecheck

Health and Safety Monitoring

  • Students and employees should complete the short self-assessment on the CSM Safe App for on-campus access. Faculty should ask to see each student’s green QR code on the CSM Safe app to ensure classroom safety. Supervisors should monitor employees in their offices.
  • Those who receive a red QR code, or who have had known exposure to the coronavirus should stay home or will be asked to leave campus.
illustration of person wearing a mask

Face Coverings and Physical Barriers

  • Students, employees, and guests–2 years of age and older–must wear face coverings or face masks while on campus and in the presence of others.
  • People not wearing face coverings will be asked to leave campus (Exceptions: private work areas, prolonged work in hot/humid environments, and ADA or other medical reasons).
  • The college will supply all employees with face masks.
  • Plexiglass and other physical barriers have been installed in high-traffic or close-contact areas to maintain barriers.
illustration of social distancing

Physical Distancing

  • During Restricted Operations, the college utilizes web-based technology, videoconferencing, telework, flexible scheduling, and other measures to promote physical distancing and limit the number of people on campus. Everyone who is on campus should maintain appropriate distancing and avoid being with others in small enclosed spaces.
  • Face-to-face meetings should be reserved for critical activities. Meetings should primarily be held using videoconference technology.
  • Classroom instruction and other educational opportunities will never exceed 50% of a room’s capacity. People in those spaces should maintain social distancing.   
  • To promote physical distancing, the college has installed signage and markings throughout our campuses to identify appropriate room capacity.
  • No more than one person may use an elevator at a time.
illustration of handwashing

Cleaning and Sanitizing

  • To protect the health and safety of our students, employees, and guests, the college has significantly increased the frequency of cleaning for all areas of the campuses (including classroom and office spaces)–especially high-contact areas.
  • The college has increased the number of hand sanitization stations across each campus.
  • Anti-viral wipes are being provided to campus offices and classrooms to assist in disinfecting commonly used surfaces throughout the day.
illustration of hand washing

Sick Leave and Excused Absences Policies

  • Students and employees are required to stay home if they are feeling sick or experiencing one or more of the following:
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Runny nose or new sinus congestion
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • Fatigue
    • New gastrointestinal symptoms
    • New loss of taste or smell
  • Employees should contact HRD, or their supervisors, for guidance on leave designation.



Students or employees who test positive for COVID-19 should take these immediate actions:

  • Report status via the CSM COVID-19 Reporting Form.
  • This can be self-reported or by someone else, such as a supervisor, faculty member, friend, or co-worker. The CSM Contact Tracing Officer will be notified of all positive cases and work to minimize the spread and impact to our students and workforce.
  • This individual is restricted from all CSM spaces.
  • According to CDC guidelines, the individual must remain in isolation for at least 14 days from symptom onset and until free from fever for 24 hours.


A “Close Contact” is defined by the CDC as an individual who was within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more, over a 24-hour period starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.

A non-vaccinated CSM student or employee who is a Close Contact case should:

  • Report status via e-mail to faculty member(s) and/or CSM Supervisor.
  • Stay home for 14 days after last contact with a person with COVID-19, and watch for fever (100.4 degrees F), cough, shortness of breath, or other COVID-19 symptoms. Quarantine period may be shortened to 7 days total if a negative test result is received; test must occur on day 5 or later.
  • If Close Contact develops symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19:
    • Status should be reported via the CSM COVID-19 Reporting Form.
    • Individual must remain in isolation for at least 14 days from symptom onset and until free from fever for 24 hours.

A fully vaccinated CSM student or employee who is a Close Contact case should:

  • Wear a mask for 14 days following exposure (or until test result is negative).
  • Be tested 3-5 days after exposure, even if asymptomatic.
    • if test result is negative, normal activities may be resumed.
    • If test result is positive for COVID-19, individual should isolate for 10 days and report using the CSM COVID-19 Reporting Form.

Near Someone who is a CLOSE CONTACT?

No quarantine or further action is required. If you have been around someone who was identified as a Close Contact to a person with COVID-19, closely monitor yourself for any symptoms of COVID-19. You do not need to self-quarantine unless you develop symptoms or if the person identified as a close contact develops COVID-19, which then would upgrade your exposure to Close Contact and require you to follow the Close Contact protocols.

Most instruction and many college work functions take place remotely. A limited number of on-campus instructional opportunities are offered face-to-face. Most college employees continue working remotely or on-call. Most college offices operating with limited face-to-face hours while using of telework, video teleconferencing, flexible scheduling, and other measures to maintain social distancing and flexibility.

Reduced Operational Status Guidelines

To be on campus, you must:

illustration of CSM safe mobile app


icon masks


icon handwashing


illustration of social distancing


Some COVID-19-related restrictions will remain in place; other policies and procedures have been adapted as a result of lessons learned from the coronavirus pandemic. Below you’ll find the latest on masks and face coverings; vaccination requirements; capacity limits for classrooms and other spaces; telework and travel policies for employees; and other health and safety measures.

As throughout the pandemic, the college will use a data-driven, phased approach to gradually return to working and offering classes on campus. Our goals are to protect the health of students and employees; help ensure the well-being of the community; and carefully and deliberately resume campus operations in a safe manner. The college uses information from the CDC, our local health departments, the Maryland Governor’s Office, and other sources to make changes to our Operational Status.


Masks and Face Coverings

You must wear masks in the following spaces:

  • CSM College Stores, libraries, computer labs, testing centers, and other student support spaces
  • Classrooms, labs, and other instructional spaces
  • Office areas when in the presence of others
  • Any space where 6’ physical distancing cannot be maintained

If you are not fully vaccinated, you are strongly encouraged to wear a mask or face covering at all times for your protection and the protection of others. Fully vaccinated individuals should also consider wearing a mask or face covering at all times as well, due to the communicable nature of the Delta variant.


Vaccination Policy

CSM strongly encourages all students, faculty, and staff to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before the beginning of the fall semester. To help facilitate vaccinations, the college will host free vaccination clinics prior to the start of the fall semester.

While the college does not require all students and employees to be vaccinated, certain programs and departments will have mandatory vaccination requirements for the Fall 2021 Semester. In accordance with our clinical partners’ policies, faculty and students in the following programs must be fully vaccinated:

  • Certified Medicine Aide, CNA/GNA, Nurse Refresher, Phlebotomy, and ECG
  • Nursing, EMS, MLT, Pharmacy Technician, Medical Assisting, Health Information Management

Proof of vaccination will be included as part of the health screening, immunization, background check, and drug screening program requirements.


Campus Facilities and Room Capacities

On-campus classes are scheduled to run at reduced room capacities this fall to provide for extra physical distancing. In addition, the college is offering approximately half of our fall credit classes in an online or hybrid format.

Seating in conference, meeting, and event spaces will return to full capacity for the fall. Furnishings will be restored to original levels in these areas.

Some campus facilities are not yet open to the public, including the Physical Education Center (PE Building) at the La Plata Campus, the Wellness and Aquatics Center at the Leonardtown Campus, and the libraries at the La Plata, Leonardtown, and Prince Frederick campuses.


Physical Distancing

When possible, you are advised to maintain six feet of physical distancing. This helps prevent the spread not only of COVID-19, but other airborne illnesses.


Temperature Checks/Self-Assessment

The college will no longer require temperature checks or the use of the CSM Safe app’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment to be on campus. However, if you feel sick, stay home!

For Employees

Department Contingency Plans

All college departments must have a contingency plan in place and be ready to pivot to online offerings and remote services, should state or local health metrics change and require us to alter our guidelines for how we offer classes and services.

Telework Arrangements

Employees should talk with their supervisor about their interest in telework arrangements. If a position is telework-eligible, a new Telework Agreement must be formalized and approved. An approved Telework Agreement allows an employee to work at an alternate location, during a part of their authorized work week. It is expected that a minimum of 60% of the employee’s work time will be at their assigned college work site.

Travel Guidelines

The college plans to resume normal guidelines for college-related travel.

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