Health and Safety Standards
As we adapt to the new normal brought on by the coronavirus, we will do everything we can to provide you with a safe campus environment for learning, research, working, worship, and socializing. Safety, security, and our community’s health are the top priorities in decisions regarding campus life.
We move forward on this shared journey with the assurance from our coronavirus task forces, who have analyzed our campus operations, personnel, and facilities, and have outlined detailed health and safety standards to guide us.
Our Shared Responsibility
The Saint Mary’s College Mission Statement directs the institution to be mindful of “social responsibility.” If members of our community are or become infected with COVID-19, it is a serious health concern. However, when they return to the campus community, they need to be treated with kindness and compassion. When they come back, they will be in good health, and this serves as a reminder that shunning or shaming a person for having been ill is contrary to Saint Mary’s College’s values. The closing line of the Mission Statement is, “All members of the College contribute to this mission in their response to the complex needs and challenges of contemporary life.”
General Health and Safety Measures
Several important measures have been enacted for every member of the Saint Mary’s College community, and will be enforced for the foreseeable future.
- Cleaning protocols will be in compliance with CDC guidelines.
- Hand sanitizer shall be available at entrances to all academic, administrative, and residential buildings.
- Individuals are responsible for cleaning high use areas prior to their own use of the space/equipment.
- All members of the Saint Mary’s community must maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet whenever possible.
- All members of the Saint Mary’s community must have a face covering that conceals their nose and mouth at all times when in public spaces including but not limited to, common areas, classrooms, laboratories, performance spaces, the library, and when in someone’s office. All members of the campus community should have a face covering on hand at all times, even when outside. The face covering shall be worn outdoors when it is not possible to maintain a 6 foot distance from others. The CDC provides guidance on how to select a mask.
- When in a private office space, members of the Saint Mary’s Community may remove their face covering; however, the face covering must be on hand to be worn if another person enters the private office.
- Roommates are considered ‘family’ for the purposes of CDC guidelines. When socializing with those who are ‘family,’ in the residential space, face coverings are not necessary. However, the face covering must be on hand to be worn if another person enters the residential space.
Monitoring Our Campus Status
To determine the current status of our College operations, many factors are monitored simultaneously, including positive cases across our community, the capacity of our quarantine and isolation space, regional trends, state and local mandates, and others. Our response team meets daily at 8 a.m. to analyze all of this information, then makes decisions about any changes to our academic and operational plans.
Preparing for Positive Cases on Campus
At Saint Mary’s, we work diligently to limit our community’s exposure to the COVID-19 virus, even when positive cases are part of our daily campus operations. To mitigate widespread exposure, we have enacted several important features to keep our community safe:
- Creating a dedicated on-campus space for residential students to recover, receive care, and actively participate in their academic classes if they are able
- Establishing a COVID-19 sterilizing/sanitation team to thoroughly and routinely deep-clean all public spaces
- Employing a robust contact tracing tool to identify those who may been exposed
Daily Health Check
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.
A person with a temperature in excess of 100.4º or having symptoms associated with COVID-19, including fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches, unexplained loss of taste or smell, sore throat, headache, or diarrhea, or any person who believes they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, must proceed as follows:
- Employees who are at home for onset of symptoms or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should not report to work.
- College employees at work for the onset of symptoms are to immediately leave for home or their healthcare provider.
- Students are to immediately return to their room and contact the Health and Counseling Center for a phone triage of your symptoms and further instructions.
The facilities department has brought Saint Mary’s College buildings into compliance with the OSHA COVID-19 recommendations for ventilation rates in the work environment and by the use of high efficiency air filters.
With regard to working conditions, the College commits to:
- The continued practice of virtual meetings
- The continuation of telecommuting for those employees who can effectively accomplish their work for the College from a remote location
- The use of tele-counseling and telemedicine to provide services; at this time, such services delivered via Google are HIPAA compliant
- The establishment of alternating employee schedules that allow offices that directly serve students to be open during normal business hours
- Reconfiguring office space to allow 30 square feet per occupant
The CDC recommends maintaining a distance of six feet from other people. Minimum square footage per employee in a shared office space or a cubicle environment shall be 30 square feet at Saint Mary’s College. Floor markers or other visual aids to enhance awareness of maintaining the physical distance will be utilized.
For offices which are subject to frequent interaction with many students, parents, or the general public, and which have sufficient air circulation, Plexiglas or acrylic barriers have been installed to protect the employee from the wide variety of individuals visiting the office. Plexiglas was prioritized for positions with a high percentage of interaction with the general public and offices that have a high percentage of confidential interactions with students.
Traffic Flow Patterns
Saint Mary’s College has designated entrances and exits in more populated buildings to reduce face-to-face contact. Please observe posted signs for appropriate traffic patterns. When transitioning between classes, do so quickly and without obstructing or slowing traffic to minimize possible exposure.
Communal Kitchens in Saint Mary’s College Residence Halls
CDC guidance recommends complete closure of communal kitchens, therefore cooking will not be allowed in residence halls. However, refrigerators, ice machines, and microwave ovens remain operational.
All Saint Mary’s College buildings have signage indicating the maximum number of occupants. In the residence halls, all of the toilets and showers are partitioned. Communal sinks are separated by Plexiglas.
The occupancy of classrooms shall be limited to the number of occupants that allows for 30 square feet per occupant. All occupants of the classroom shall wear face coverings. Further:
- Furniture in excess of the amount needed for 30 square feet per occupant will be placed in storage
- The maximum occupancy in classrooms be posted
- Staggered starts and expanded passing periods to reduce the density of students changing classes at the same time will be observed
- External and guest speakers appear virtually
- At the beginning of each class, high touch surfaces, doorknobs, desk tops, chairs etc. will be sprayed with a chemical disinfectant and that each student, using either a clean microfiber rag or a disposable towel, wipe down their individual space
- The academic divisions have identified non-traditional instructional spaces, laboratories, studios, etc. in order that specific plans to maintain a healthful environment in those spaces can be developed
- The academic divisions have developed seating charts for classrooms to assist in contact tracing
- Outdoor spaces as instructional space will be available, provided that there is no negative impact on students in attendance remotely, or on students who have academic accommodations for a disability
Common Spaces and Lounges in Saint Mary’s College Buildings
The occupancy of lounges and other common areas shall be limited to the number of occupants that allows for 30 square feet per occupant. All occupants of lounges and other common areas shall wear face coverings. Furniture in excess of the amount needed for 30 square feet per occupant should be placed in storage.
Quarantine and Isolation at Saint Mary’s College
When a residential student tests positive for COVID-19, she is assigned to the isolation/quarantine area on campus, the Mother Angela Care Center located in Regina Hall South. Off-campus students will be required to quarantine or isolate at their place of residence. All students have the option of returning to their home for isolation or quarantine if that can be safely arranged. Upon being assigned to the isolation/quarantine area, the student will be responsible for transporting herself over to her assigned isolation or quarantine space within the time period designated. She will also bring with her, sufficient personal hygiene items, clothing, medication, and class materials for several days. Laundry facilities will not be available.
Faculty and staff will be required to quarantine or isolate at their home. Employees who live on campus who are required to isolate or quarantine will be allowed the option to utilize the isolation/quarantine area on campus.
A student can return from quarantine or isolation only when she has received clearance from Health and Counseling. Faculty and staff will contact Human Resources for clearance to return to work on campus.
Daily Care While in Isolation and Quarantine
Health and Counseling will be responsible for the initial orientation and daily health checks of students placed in isolation/quarantine. There are three managers of the Mother Angela Care Center who are responsible for the day-to-day welfare needs of the students in the isolation/quarantine area, including food and nutrition, special needs, and pastoral support.
- Isolation: For individuals with COVID-like symptoms or positive test results. The length of stay in isolation is 10 days from the onset of symptoms or a positive test. For symptomatic patients, there must also be a demonstrated improvement in symptomatology and no fever for 24 hours in order to be released from isolation
- Quarantine: For individuals with identified exposure to an infected individual. The length of stay in quarantine is 10 days from exposure with no onset of symptoms
- Exposure: Per guidelines from the CDC and St Joseph County Health Department, any individual who has been in close contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes without a mask) with a person who was diagnosed or was likely to have COVID-19 is considered to have been exposed. the CDC and St. Joseph County Health Department criteria
Testing While in Quarantine
All students who are identified as a close contact are placed immediately into quarantine and are given a test on day 4 after exposure. If that is positive, they move from quarantine to isolation. If it is negative, they remain in quarantine until day 10 after their exposure, as recommended by the CDC.
Isolation and Quarantine Location
Regina Hall South Residence Hall has been designated as the isolation/quarantine location for residential students. This area is known as the Mother Angela Care Center (MACC) is separate from Regina North. The MACC has a dedicated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system that is separate from the systems for Regina North.
The State of Indiana continues to provide guidance to all higher education institutions on how to safely provide meal service to students. In addition, Campus Dining at Saint Mary's College is working with public health experts to shape our standards. Alternative dining spaces are available that allow for safe physical distance, while still being able to enjoy the company of others. Outside dining spaces, weather permitting, include enhanced seating under tents outside of the Student Center and dining hall. There is also seating on the verandas outside Stapleton Hall and on the back patio of Haggar College Center, weather permitting. The patio outside of the 1844 Cafe is also available for seating. More information on campus dining, hours of operation of the Noble Family Dining Hall and 1844 Cafe, and much more can be found here.
Saint Mary’s College Religious Observations
In accordance with the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend directives, masks must be worn and the appropriate distance must be maintained when attending Mass, evening prayer, or any other services in the Holy Spirit Chapel, Regina Chapel, Sacred Heart Chapel or Our Lady of Wisdom Chapel.