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.
- 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.
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.
The Committee recommends that all communal lavatories in 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. The Committee recommends that communal sinks be separated by a rigid barrier such as 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
- If there is sufficient space for a ten feet buffer between the instructor and the students, that the instructor have the option of removing their face covering for the purpose of instruction.
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 28 square feet per occupant should be placed in storage.
Beginning with the fall 2020 semester, all food service at Saint Mary’s College will be provided by Notre Dame’s Campus Dining. ND’s Campus Dining team has been working collaboratively with the Cleveland Clinic and many other public health experts to shape their standards for campus dining; these same standards will be implemented at Saint Mary's. To-go dining will be facilitated and encouraged, but work is underway to create the safest possible indoor dining experience for those who choose it.
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.