As the semester gets into full swing, St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) has created new safety guidelines in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the COVID-19 handbook, the College’s “aim is to reopen in the spirit of The St. Mary’s Way in as safe a manner as possible given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.” In light of this, there are new procedures and protocols for students to keep in mind.
SMCM is now a fully masked campus, with requirements for face coverings over nose and mouth at all times, except when actively eating, drinking or in a private room or vehicle. There is also a requirement to remain six feet apart from others when possible. If students, faculty or staff are experiencing symptoms, they are expected to report this to SMCM and not visit campus. Symptoms are listed by the CDC as fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea, and these symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Testing is available through the campus Wellness Center.
One of the most noticeable changes from previous semesters in response to COVID-19 is access to the Great Room and other dining options. Exits and entrances are separately marked, along with spaces six feet apart from other diners, and all food is placed into to-go containers. The Great Room will continue to provide hot food options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as prepackaged food options. Solomon’s Kitchen (the Pub) will have grab-and-go options for breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday, as well as late-night food Thursday through Saturday.
The guidelines for housing occupancy maximums have also changed. Single occupancy rooms may have one guest, townhouses four guests, eight-person suites two guests, 14-person suites may have 14 people in the suite at one time and outdoor gatherings are restricted to 10 people. Non-student guests are not allowed in buildings except for move-in day, and no overnight visitors are permitted. Students are required to remain on campus except for essential purposes.
Sports facilities are open, and require masks and social distancing, and sports teams are allowed to hold outdoor practice after September 1.
Many changes to campus life have been made in this unique semester, so for further knowledge students should consult the SMCM COVID-19 Handbook to answer any questions or concerns, and familiarize themselves with the new guidelines.
It can be accessed through the school website at https://www.smcm.edu/reopening-smcm/wp-content/uploads/sites/121/2020/08/Employee-Handbook.pdf and students should have received an email with a link to the handbook as well.