On August 11, President Tuajuanda Jordan declared a phased return to campus. Rather than all students returning to campus on August 15 as planned, students were assigned new move-in dates based on their housing location, with move-in dates spanning from August 15 to September 7. In her message to the community, President Jordan assured students, staff, faculty and parents that the College has “ been closely monitoring local, state, and national COVID-19 conditions.” The College took into consideration the wellbeing of freshman and transfer students; therefore, they moved in as planned to better adapt to college life. The phased move-in allowed the St. Mary’s community to gather information on how prospective locations should function with this unprecedented time.
Concerns surrounding the steady rise in COVID tests throughout Maryland, and qualms about the ability of local facilities to handle the influx of students returning to campus convinced the college to change their initial fall 2020 move-in plans. St. Mary’s College of Maryland administration decided a phased move-in would mitigate the strenuous impact on the campus, students and the surrounding community. President of the Class of 2023, Nicholas Howard (‘23), shared “I’ve embraced the reasoning behind having the phrased move-in. Though I understand that COVID has posed many challenges, the last-minute email created many problems. ”
The College took extra considerations to ensure marginalized students still had access to the tools they needed to start classes on August 17. Derek Young, the Executive Director of Student Life and the Interim Dean of Students shared the exceptions to the new move-in policy and directed those students to complete a form. The College indicated that students with internet issues, incompatible college environments, already purchased plane tickets or labs required to complete a class during the three-week move-in time were eligible to complete the form.
After September 7, move-in will officially be considered complete and all of the students who wished to return to campus will be back. Kyle Musselman (‘21) mentioned: “I thought [the phased re-opening of campus] was a good idea overall, but the fact that senior housing was last [to move in] was upsetting (but I’m biased). Also, I think it should have been communicated earlier, the fact that I signed up to move in and then had to wait another three weeks was frustrating and upsetting.
President Jordan ended her email with an uplifting message: “As our St. Mary’s Way reminds us, our College is a place ‘where people contribute to a spirit of caring,’ a place that causes us to hold ourselves accountable and respectful of each other.” As the last phase of students settle into campus, it is important to be mindful of one another and to respect the College’s protocol by wearing a mask and adhering to the six feet social distance guidelines.