Fall 2020: Live Learn Work

Welcome Back

Saint Mary’s College is ready to welcome students, faculty, and staff back to campus, resuming on-campus classroom instruction on August 10. Throughout the spring and summer, we have learned a great deal about this pandemic; how to keep our eyes on the future while navigating the present. While much is still unknown, we can confidently say we have not wasted this opportunity to grow and learn.

Check Up, Mask Up, Back Up, Wash Up

For our fall semester, we’re coming together safely — with masks on — prepared to handle this new dynamic. We’ve adopted these four core guidelines as a mantra that will shape our return and give us a measure of personal freedom to be in each other’s company and our students can safely enjoy their college experience. 

Check Up: Daily health awareness is an important element of preventing the spread of  COVID-19. All members of the Saint Mary’s Community will receive a daily prompt reminding them to log in and record their health status  before reporting to class or to work. If you have a fever or other possible symptoms of  COVID-19, you should remain home or in your residence hall.  Students should contact the Health and Counseling Center for further information. 

Mask Up: Saint Mary’s requires that all community members have a mask on their person at all times, that they wear a mask in indoor public spaces, and that they wear masks outdoors when physical distancing is not possible. Masks must cover the nose and mouth and should be cleaned regularly. We will supply students with one cloth mask and one disposable mask when they return to campus, but we expect students to bring their own supply of face coverings.

Back Up: For students, physical distancing applies everywhere you go outside of your family unit. A family unit at Saint Mary’s is the residents of your assigned living space — your roommate(s). In all interactions outside the family unit keep a distance of at least 6 feet from others. For employees, the same 6-foot distance will apply. 

Wash Up: Hand washing is important for many health reasons, but in this time of COVID-19, there is even greater emphasis on good hygiene practices. To assist the community for the times when a sink, hot water, and soap are not available, hand sanitizer stations are now located throughout the campus.

COVID-19 Informed Decision

Daily Health Checks

A  daily health check is a required part of your participation in campus life, be it attending classes, living on campus or participating in campus activities. If you do your part, we will have a successful semester in person. 

The daily health check is a 3-question survey. We ask that you only include  NEW, UNUSUAL or UNEXPECTED symptoms that are commonly associated with possible COVID-19 infection.  

Here’s how it works:

  1. Beginning Monday, August 10, you will receive an email each day at 6 a.m., from no-reply@healthyroster.com containing a brief health survey that must be completed before you begin your day at Saint Mary’s 
  2. Complete the survey before leaving your room every day
  3. Take your temperature
  4. Check YES for any NEW, UNUSUAL, or UNEXPECTED symptoms
  5. Once submitted, you will receive an immediate reply from no-reply@healthyroster.com with further instructions. Please read these instructions carefully!

Remember: Personal responsibility and care for others is key to the success of the College’s fall 2020 plan. As Belles, it is your shared responsibility to protect yourself and everyone else. Honest reporting, wearing your mask, practicing physical distancing, washing up, and limiting your off-campus travel WILL make all the difference. 

Mandatory COVID Testing for Students

All students attending in-person classes, including those living off campus, must be tested for COVID-19 prior to coming to Saint Mary’s for the fall 2020 semester. Because of the surge in COVID testing in several parts of the country, testing labs are reporting longer than expected wait times for results. Therefore, we have made some modifications to the testing requirement to assist you in obtaining the tests and results. 

The physician's order and instruction letter you received in an email from President Conboy on July 9, indicates that you are to obtain a nasal  PCR test. While this is the best test for the COVID-19 virus and what we prefer, there are now shortages of this test in parts of the country. We are willing to accept PCR tests collected by other routes (oropharyngeal or saliva). We also will accept the results from a rapid antigen test. However, antibody tests will not be accepted.

In addition, we have heard from a number of families there is concern they may not get test results in a timely manner. Therefore, all students may be tested 14 days in advance of their scheduled move-in date, rather than 10–12 days as we advised earlier. If you are having trouble finding a test, please contact Cyndie Horton-Cavanaugh at chorton@saintmarys.edu

To access more detailed, updated instructions for testing and the physician's order, click the button below

Physician's Order & Test Instructions

Contact tracing will be used on campus for those who test positive for coronavirus, along with a dedicated area on our campus to be used for those students who require quarantine. 

Of course, there are many other questions and purposes that go along with COVID-19, and our return to campus. None more important than the steps we are taking to control the virus’ spread, test for its presence, and quarantine those who may be ill. Please view the Health and Safety Standards, a full document outlining this information for the Saint Mary’s College community.

Visiting Campus

The fall is a busy time for high school seniors and their families visiting our campus and discovering what makes Saint Mary’s truly unique. Our Office of Admission has created a rewarding experience for prospective students, with health and safety protocols in place so they can visit our campus while maintaining good health practices. 

Our athletic teams will also be back in action. The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) has outlined a robust calendar of athletic events, which includes travel to and from each others’ stadiums and athletic fields. Though external spectators can watch all play via live streaming, only Saint Mary’s College students are allowed to watch in person, and will do so by following the College’s established safety guidelines.

Students and other community members may request to organize internal events, but these will be limited as to number of participants and must observe all masking and distancing protocols.  Tri-campus students are not considered visitors and can come to campus following our guidelines. Our students visiting Notre Dame or Holy Cross College, they will need to adhere to their guidelines and standards.

The plans for Fall 2020 outlined by Saint Mary’s College are dependent upon local, state, and national health and wellness guidelines, and can change according to the current state of COVID-19. We encourage you to watch for further updates via email communications and on this website.

The Avenue

COVID-19 Testing FAQs

Information for Students and Parents

+Are students required to be tested prior to coming to campus?

Yes. All students attending in-person classes, including those living off campus, will be required to be tested prior to coming to Saint Mary’s for the fall 2020 semester.

+Are the two people allowed to help me move into my residence hall required to be tested?

No. However, they will be required to wear a mask and respect physical distancing guidelines. Please note: If wearing a mask is an issue, due to a non-COVID health condition for example, they can help carry belongings to the outside door of the residence hall, but may not enter.

+Will the College provide pre-arrival testing for students?

All students are required to be tested prior to coming to campus for the fall 2020 semester, therefore students are responsible for securing a test in their town of origin.

+What is the process for pre-arrival COVID testing?

In the coming days, all students will receive an email with physician's order for a COVID-19 test, and instructions on submitting your test results, among other detailed information.

+How far in advance of move-in do I need to be tested?

Testing is advised to be completed up to 14 days in advance of arrival to campus. The student is then asked to shelter in place between testing and coming to campus. This means you should stay home except for essential activities. You may freely interact with family and may also be outside for exercise as long as you maintain physical distancing.

+Does anyone else who lives with me need to be tested?


+How will a test prior to school start ensure that people don't pick it up on their travels to school?

There are no absolute assurances. The goal of the test is to find students who are infected with the virus before they return to campus and could spread it to others. It is true that there is potential for exposure during travel, but this can be greatly lessened by taking measures that we know limit the spread of the virus; wearing a mask, frequently washing your hands for 20 seconds and keeping a safe physical distance of at least feet. As a community we have to embrace these new behaviors that will keep us all safe and well.

+What if I live in a state where asymptomatic people can’t get tested?

If a student lives in a jurisdiction without asymptomatic testing, arrangements can be made for an on-campus test upon arrival. However, the student will be quarantined in a different room than her own until a negative result is received. She will be allowed to move into her room, with all her belongings, once the negative test has been received. If the student tests positive for COVID, the student will remain in isolation until Health and Wellness clears them to start classes and move to her room. Please contact Cyndie Horton-Cavanaugh at chorton@saintmarys.edu, in the Health and Counseling Center, prior to coming to campus if you are refused testing where you live.

+What happens if my test results are not back in time for move-in?

Documentation of a negative test result is required for moving into the residence hall, and/or beginning class. Please contact Cyndie Horton-Cavanaugh at chorton@saintmarys.edu, in the Health and Counseling Center, prior to coming to campus if this pertains to your situation.

+My daughter has very recently taken a COVID test, but her negative result does not fall into the 14-day range. Will those results qualify or will she need another one before move-in day?

For those who fall into this category, please contact Cyndie Horton-Cavanaugh at chorton@saintmarys.edu to discuss your specific situation.

+Where do I submit my test results?

The lab order you will receive instructs the providing laboratory to report test results directly to the secure Saint Mary’s College Health and Counseling Center fax machine at (574) 284-4833. Due to HIPPA regulations, test results should not be sent to Saint Mary’s by email. We recommend that you request your results also be reported to you by text or email, just in case the fax to the Health and Counseling Center fails. The Office of Residence Life will be advised when the student has completed the testing requirement ahead of move-in day. Those students who live off campus are also required to submit their test results prior to the start of class on August 10.

+What happens if my test results are positive? Do I need to report this?

The providing laboratory will report test results directly to the Health and Counseling Center, therefore no additional reporting is necessary. Students who test positive will be asked to stay away from campus until it is medically safe to return. That is determined by three criteria: 10 days have passed since they developed symptoms or had a positive test result, AND there has been an improvement in their symptoms AND they have been without fever for 72 hours (three days) without taking any fever reducing medicines (for example, acetaminophen, ibuprofen).

+What happens if I do not take the test?

If there is a medical reason that precludes a student from safely being tested, this needs to be raised with the Health and Counseling Center prior to the student coming to campus. Unless a student has a medical impediment to testing, all students will be required to be tested for COVID-19 before coming to campus. Please contact Cyndie Horton-Cavanaugh at chorton@saintmarys.edu, in the Health and Counseling Center prior to your arrival on campus if there are circumstances which you need to discuss.

+Are there any directives and guidelines I need to follow between being tested and arriving on campus?

Once tested, students are asked to follow the guidelines for sheltering in place, which entails staying home except for essential activities. They may interact freely with their family and be outdoors for exercise as long as they maintain the appropriate physical distance.

+Who pays for my testing prior to coming to campus for the fall semester AND/OR on campus during the semester?

Students should make payment arrangements for tests taken before coming to Saint Mary’s. Most insurances are covering testing for COVID-19. Your state might offer free testing, and your testing center might have information on other sources of funding, such as federal grants, if available. If tested on campus, the Health and Counseling Center will conduct the test and our lab partners will bill your insurance directly. Federal and other funding is available for students who do not have insurance.

+What happens on move-in day?

In order to be cleared for move in, you will need to have your test results on file (or have communicated with the Health and Counseling Center if you do not have them) and completed the required COVID online training module. Information for the module will be sent to you via email. In addition, all students will be asked to complete a health questionnaire through Healthy Roster to verify they, and the individuals who are assisting with the move, have conducted a self-assessment for COVID symptoms the day of move in. Information on how this questionnaire will be completed will be sent to you prior to move in. Missing any of these requirements could prevent you from moving and/or starting classes.

+Once the semester begins, and I believe I have been exposed to COVID, what is the process for requesting a test, and reporting the results?

If a student exhibits symptoms or is notified that they have been exposed, they will be directed to stay in their residence and contact the Health and Counseling Center, who will triage via a telehealth consultation. If the Health and Counseling Center determines the student needs to be tested, an in-person visit for the test will be arranged. Please note: The Health and Counseling Center has a separate COVID testing waiting area and treatment room. Students who need to be tested should not make their way to the Health and Counseling Center until directed by a member of the Health and Counseling Center team.

+I have additional questions that are not answered here. Who should I contact?

Please contact Cyndie Horton-Cavanaugh in the Health and Counseling Center at chorton@saintmarys.edu  if you have additional questions or concerns not raised in this list.

Information for Faculty and Staff

+Are faculty and staff required to be tested?

All faculty and staff who are working full or part time on campus, as well as those who continue to work from home but visit the campus occasionally, are expected to adhere to the health and safety standards established by the College as it relates to pandemic operations. While there is no mandate to test every employee prior to coming to campus, all employees should self-monitor for any symptoms that could pose a risk to the campus community. Any employee who believes they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, and is on the College insurance plan through Christian Brothers, can be tested for free at one of several testing sites in the area. For further details on free testing for employees, please contact Human Resources or visit My Saint Mary’s employee portal.

+Are campus vendors and campus partners required to be tested?

Vendors and other campus visitors essential to the operation of the College (delivery personnel, employees of 1st Source Bank, ECDC, Shaheen Bookstore, ND Campus Dining, etc) follow the testing requirements of their employer, and not Saint Mary’s College. They will be required to adhere to College policies that require the use of masks and, to the extent possible, maintain appropriate physical distance while on campus.

+Will the College provide testing for faculty and staff?

The test kits at the Health and Counseling Center are not available to employees. Employees must obtain a test through their family physician, or by visiting the South Bend Optum testing site where they can get tested for free with no doctor’s order. Please note: Co-pays are waived for those employees on the College health insurance plan administered through Christian Brothers. The majority of testing sites provide a polymerise chain reaction (PCR) diagnostic test. Locally, there is a CVS Minute Clinic at 51467 State Road 933 that offers drive-through PCR testing.

+Will students/faculty/staff be tested on an ongoing basis (pool testing or others)?

Not at this time.

+Will I be notified by the College if a student taking one of my classes is quarantined and/or diagnosed with COVID-19?

Through contact tracing, we will assess the level of potential exposure for every person in the classroom, and notify those who may be at risk. The same will occur for those who work in residence halls and other buildings on campus. At the time of notification of possible exposure, health instructions will be provided to guide the individual through the next phase, which could range from increased self-monitoring to self quarantine, depending on the level of risk.

Travel Related Questions

+As a student, can I leave campus for the weekend?

The College has accelerated the academic calendar by beginning early, eliminating fall break, and finishing the semester on November 20 in order to reduce the opportunity that the coronavirus could be brought back to campus due to travel. Therefore, we discourage all non-essential travel, including trips home. However, students are not barred from such travel. We do ask that students who choose to leave campus for the weekend adhere to the health and safety guidelines established by the College to reduce the risk of exposure and spread of the coronavirus.

+If I go away for the weekend for personal reasons, do I need to be tested before coming back to campus?

As a general rule, no. However, if you believe you have been exposed to COVID, or are notified that you have been exposed by contract tracers or others, please contact the Health and Counseling Center for further instructions. Furthermore, if you have any symptoms upon your return, please contact the Health and Counseling Center.

+As an employee working on campus, do I need to inform my supervisor if I’ve traveled? Do I need to report weekend travel to my supervisor if I’m working from home?

Non-essential personal and professional travel is discouraged at this time. Please reach out to Human Resources if you have questions regarding your specific circumstances. If you choose to travel for personal reasons, and believe you may have been exposed to COVID, the health and safety standards established by the College require self-isolation and possible testing. For more information, please contact Human Resources or visit My Saint Mary’s employee portal.