Understand the metrics and guidelines that guide our decision-making at our Annapolis dashboard. Go deeper into the details of our full plan by visiting the links below.
Since our last COVID update, the college’s active case count has risen to 81. Based on current trendlines and with keeping the current enhanced risk mitigation strategies in place, we believe we have reached our peak—but will continue to closely monitor and provide updates. Below is the trajectory of reported cases:
Most people who test positive will be able to leave isolation 5 days after a positive test provided they meet the criteria set out for release. These criteria as outlined by the CDC are, generally, as follows:
Students will get specific communication about the date they may leave isolation and are asked to follow the directions set forth in that email. As we begin to see cases level off and more students meeting the criteria to leave isolation, we will again be able to relocate students out of double rooms and in time, return to the practice we have been using all semester of moving students who test positive into the 13 units of isolation housing that was set aside. Please understand that had we set aside enough isolation units to accommodate this outbreak, it would have meant taking entire residence halls offline for the entire year, creating other housing issues.
Wearing masks in class appears to have been successful in interdicting the spread of COVID: in the 15 months since the spring 2021 semester, contact tracing did not find COVID transmission in classes where participants were masked. Transmission was generally found in meetings outside of class when persons were in close quarters and unmasked. For this reason, we have continued to host many classes in person. If a small number of students are in isolation and unable to attend an in-person class, the class may proceed without them, as would be the case with other absences due to illness. If, however, many students in a particular class are in isolation or quarantining, the tutor may decide to hold the class online; many classes have been held online for this reason. Because the situation is variable from class to class, the tutors have been entrusted to make a decision for each of their classes, for the sake of the best possible instruction under adverse circumstances. If students miss class because they are in isolation or quarantine, the absences will not count under the attendance policy. Students may have other related reasons for being absent, and should consult the assistant dean about this. Students missing class for whatever reason, if they are not unwell, should make a reasonable effort to keep up with their work and communicate with their tutors.
Students may pick up a limited supply of at-home tests at the health center and across from the Dean’s Office on Friday. Free at-home kits are also available at the state testing site on Bladen Street on Saturday. Testing is available at the health center on Friday and at the state testing site on Bladen Street on Saturday.
Free KN-95 masks, clear masks, and singing masks and thermometers are available across from the Dean’s Office.
Many students are asking if it is safe to be on campus while an outbreak is underway. Public health experts have consistently reported that vaccinated individuals have a dramatically reduced risk of developing serious illness from all COVID variants; they have also consistently reported that the Omicron variants currently circulating are less severe than earlier variants; and they have consistently reported that young people are at very low risk of severe outcome from all variants. These realities, combined with more effective COVID therapeutics and health care practices have changed outcomes across all demographics. In short, the public health risks from COVID in May, 2022, are dramatically different than they were in May 2020.
If you are immune-compromised and test positive for COVID, we recommend that you contact your physician or specialist right away to discuss if antiviral therapy is appropriate for you. If you are unable to contact your physician or specialist, you can visit Anne Arundel Medical Center Emergency Department and discuss if this is appropriate given your medical history.
In order to reduce the chance of transmission and lower the incidence of COVID, it is extremely important that students observe protocols, including mask wearing, not only in classes and instructional spaces, but during recreational activities in the evenings or weekends in other public places such as common rooms. We are counting on your help. Additionally, please understand that a negative COVID test result immediately following exposure does not guarantee that you will not later test positive. We all must continue to be masked when indoors even if we recently tested negative.
All members of the community are encouraged to perform an at-home test or to go to a testing site to be tested. This is especially important if you start to develop symptoms. If you test positive please share the results of your test with Ms. Lico. Any absences associated with isolation or quarantine will be excused absences under the absence policy. Mr. Dugan and Ms. Lico will work with tutors directly to make notifications. They may not happen immediately, but we promise we will get to them.
We know this has been a trying week, and we appreciate your patience.
Since our email this morning, an additional 26 members of the campus community have tested positive for COVID. That brings our total number of positive cases to 38. Beyond the confirmed positive cases, we have identified over 200 students as close contacts. These numbers have necessitated changes to our protocols and strategies.
All members of the community are encouraged to perform an at-home test or to go to a testing site to be tested. Testing is also available for students at the Health Center. This is especially important if you start to develop symptoms. If you test positive please share the results of your test with Ms. Lico. Any absences associated with isolation or quarantine will be excused absences under the absence policy. Mr. Dugan and Ms. Lico will work with tutors directly to make notifications. Students who are without symptoms who test negative should continue to attend class even if you have been identified as a close contact.
We will continue to take measures that permit us to conduct classes in the best way possible in the face of these challenges.
We appreciate the efforts of all members of the community in taking steps to limit the spread of the virus.
Nora Demleitner, President
Joseph Macfarland, Dean
Danielle Lico, Executive Director Campus Wellness
Over this past weekend, there has been a small cluster of community members who have tested positive for COVID. As of this morning, we have eleven positive cases. The students are in isolation, and we continue to work as quickly as possible to notify exposed members of our community.
Due to rapid spread over the last 48 hours, we are acting aggressively now in the hopes of containing the spread quickly. The following risk mitigation strategies are being implemented immediately:
We know the seniors are especially concerned about how this cluster of cases may impact commencement activities. We look forward to commencement activities occurring as planned but need the community to come together to limit the spread of the virus. Wearing masks in all social situations (both on-campus and off), socially distancing, and getting tested (see below) if you experience symptoms are the best way to stop the spread. Should we still be experiencing an increasing number of cases, we may be forced to postpone or adjust indoor commencement-related activities.
As a reminder, when an individual tests positive, we ask that person to inform Danielle Lico of the positive test and of all community members who have been in close contact within the 48 hours prior to symptoms or, if asymptomatic, prior to testing positive. Ms. Lico will make notifications and work with individuals on next steps.
While we have seen an increase in COVID cases, please remember that there are other cold and flu viruses, seasonal allergies and asthma-related illness that can all present with similar symptoms. Testing is our best strategy to identify if symptoms are truly COVID-related, so please consider taking advantage of testing opportunities. Testing is available at the state testing tent on Bladen Street on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday between 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Additionally, at-home tests are available from several locations on-campus, including the Health Center, Public Safety, and from Ms. Lico. Students can also contact the health center for symptomatic testing. If you are feeling ill, please socially distance as you would for any illness, and be sure to wear a well-fitting mask.
Please also note that the virus currently circulating is still the Omicron variant, of which the BA.1 and BA.2 variants are sublineages. This variant and its sublineages are more transmissible than earlier variants but tend to present less severe symptoms and disease, especially to the vaccinated and boosted. As always, the best protection against serious illness is vaccination. If you are eligible for a booster but have yet to get the shot, please do so as soon as possible.
We will continue to monitor all COVID variables closely and we are poised to adapt in other ways as needed. We ask all of you to help us contain the spread so that no additional measures are needed, and so that we can return to a mask-optional policy when advisable. We continue to ask for patience and thank you all for your compliance and vigilance as we work through this as a community.
It is with great pleasure that after nearly two years of living with masks and multiple COVID-specific risk mitigation strategies, we have reached a point where the public health conditions allow for meaningful changes. After much discussion and a review of the on-campus, local, and statewide conditions, we are happy to announce a shift to a mask-optional policy beginning with 4 p.m. Seminar on Thursday, March 24. This date was selected to allow for any positive cases to be identified after spring break travel and provide adequate time to plan for this policy shift.
Please read the information below very carefully to understand how this shift will occur and about other changes to our risk mitigation strategies.
Beginning with Seminar on Thursday, March 24, all members of the community, regardless of vaccination status, will have the option to be without a mask. There are specific exceptions to this option, as outlined below:
As we return to a norm in which individual discretion drives masking decisions, it is important that we treat others and their choices respectfully, even when we might have differences of opinion. We know that many in or community will continue to wear masks, and it is essential that we respect this decision.
The quarantine and isolation requirements for all members of the college community will reflect those outlined by the CDC. Members of the community are highly encouraged to perform an at-home test on Day 5 if exposed. Testing kits are available in the Harrison Health Center, Human Resources, and from the Executive Director of Campus Wellness. Anybody who is exposed or who tests positive is required to immediately notify Danielle Lico, Executive Director of Campus Wellness.
Members of the campus community who are not “up-to-date” on their COVID vaccination, as defined by the CDC, are required to test weekly. This includes all members of the community who are unvaccinated or who are eligible for a booster but have not yet received one. If you have not yet provided documentation of your booster to the appropriate office (Harrison Health Center for students and Danielle Lico for employees) you are highly encouraged to do so immediately. If you have lost your vaccination card, you can access your Maryland COVID vaccination records online.
Members of the community who are traveling over spring break are strongly encouraged to pick-up an at-home COVID test kit before departing and to test and confirm they are COVID-free before returning to campus. Test kits are available in the Harrison Health Center, Human Resources, the Dean’s Office, and from the Executive Director of Campus Wellness.
We have had remarkable success as a college community in working to navigate the ever-changing public health landscape over the last two years. Your patience with and commitment to the policies and strategies put in place have allowed for low case counts and a return to many pre-COVID activities. While nobody can predict the future, we remain ready to respond should there be an unexpected increase in cases or a new variant that requires a different strategy. We hope this will not be the case.
Nora Demleitner, Annapolis President
December 30, 2021 - Please note that low-residency Graduate Institute students are still starting their semester as scheduled on January 10, 2022.
We hope this message finds you and your loved ones well, and that you’ve had a restful and pleasant winter break. Because of rapidly worsening national and regional health conditions due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, St. John’s College, Annapolis, will be delaying the start of the spring semester in order allow regional health conditions to improve and ensure that the campus is well prepared to support students through the semester. Therefore, for all in-person graduate students and for all undergraduate students, with the exception of seniors, the starting date of the semester will be postponed from January 10 to January 17, 2022.
For seniors, the semester will begin on January 10 as previously scheduled, with the Senior Essay writing period initially conducted remotely. For seniors and graduate students completing their degrees, the semester will end with commencement on May 15. The semester will end on May 20 for all other students, one week later than scheduled.
In order to reduce in-person contact in our campus community and to ensure a safe and smooth opening to the spring semester, in addition to the delayed start, all undergraduate and graduate classes will be conducted remotely in the first week of the semester, from January 17 through January 21. Dormitories will open for returning students on January 16. Students who have special circumstances requiring them to return to campus prior to the 16th should contact the Assistant Dean's Office. We would encourage students to delay their return to campus until January 22, shortly before in-person classes resume.
We apologize for the suddenness of this decision and communication, but it is brought on by the unexpected increase in COVID cases and our intention to give you as much advance notice as possible. We understand and regret that this decision will disrupt your travel plans. We are gratified to have just completed a very successful semester of in-person classes, and considering the extremely high positivity rates and elevated number of hospitalizations in Maryland at present, we are seeking to start the semester under conditions in which we may carry on the successes of the fall.
We appreciate your patience and partnership in the continuing efforts to reduce the risks to our community, ultimately to the benefit of your education. Below are some additional details regarding this delay:
This schedule change means the semester will be extended by one week for all undergraduate students except seniors, and all continuing graduate students. Both seniors and graduate students completing their degrees will have commencement on May 15, as previously scheduled. This change preserves the two full weeks of spring break (at the originally scheduled time), as well as other campus and academic events. Don rags will be held during the week after commencement, from May 16 through May 20.
We are encouraging residential students, whenever possible, to delay their return to campus until closer to the start of in-person classes on January 24. If you have questions about your housing or plans to return to campus, please contact the Assistant Dean’s Office at AnnapolisAssistantDean(at)sjc.edu.
We strongly encourage you to get tested for COVID-19 prior to your arrival on campus. If you have a positive test result, please isolate, and seek a PCR test after any positive rapid antigen test. In many parts of the country the supply of at-home tests is diminished and the results of PCR tests can be delayed, so please plan accordingly. Additional information will be sent during the week of January 10 outlining our public health risk mitigation strategies.
As detailed in our message of December 21, 2021, the college will be requiring vaccine boosters. All students are required to provide updated COVID vaccination documentation prior to January 5, 2022 (with the exception of fully online Graduate Institute students). Questions about how to upload your documentation should be directed to the Harrison Health Center via email at annapolis.healthcenter(at)sjc.edu.
Be safe and well,
Joseph Macfarland, Interim President
Nora Demleitner, Incoming President
While keeping a physical distance of at least six feet from other people, practicing good hygiene measures (e.g., frequent hand washing, avoiding touching the face, covering coughs and sneezes), and staying home when ill are the best known protections against COVID-19, wearing a face covering that covers the nose and mouth can help protect others, especially persons who are unvaccinated.
All members of the community are required to wear a mask while indoors on-campus and when occupying a vehicle with another person for work purposes.
Acceptable face coverings include clear face coverings or cloth face coverings with a clear plastic panel that, despite the non-cloth material allowing light to pass through, otherwise meet these criteria.
All members of the community are highly encouraged to wear N95 masks or KN95 masks or to wear both a disposable mask under a cloth mask.
This policy applies to all college personnel, students, contractors, and visitors.
Face coverings are not required when:
Face coverings do not replace required job-specific PPE, such as medical/procedure masks, face shields or respirators.
Infants and toddlers under age two (2) should never wear cloth face coverings due to the risk of suffocation. Children ages two to four (2–4), with the assistance and close supervision of an adult, are strongly recommended to wear face coverings. All children aged five (5) years and older should wear a face covering unless medically directed to do otherwise.
For students requesting a medical or health risk accommodation, determination of the accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis. Students may be required to provide documentation to substantiate their need for an accommodation. An accommodation may not include allowing someone to not wear a face covering where it is required. Requests should be made to the Executive Director, Campus Wellness.
For college personnel requesting a medical or health risk accommodation, determination of the accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis. Personnel may be required to provide documentation to substantiate their need for an accommodation. An accommodation may not include allowing someone to not wear a face covering where it is required. Requests should be made to the Personnel Office.
Students are required to follow the face covering requirements at all times when on campus. If a student is without a face covering, in accordance with this policy, begin with a polite verbal request for compliance to educate and persuade the student to wear a face covering. If a student refuses to comply with the policy, please contact the Assistant Dean’s Office or Public Safety for additional support. Students do not need to wear a face covering when inside a private on-campus residential unit; however, face coverings are required in common areas of residence halls.
Personnel are expected to comply with the face covering requirement as a condition of employment, as well as for the health and safety of themselves, their colleagues, and the campus community. Supervisors are required to ensure all of their personnel have a thorough understanding of the requirements outlined in this policy. Personnel who do not comply should be reminded of the policy by their supervisor and provided additional education and training as needed. If, after additional education and training, personnel refuse to comply, contact the Personnel Office.
St. John’s College is committed to maintaining a respectful, productive, inclusive, and equitable environment and discrimination and other conduct that is inconsistent with our values will not be tolerated.