St. Mary’s College of Maryland released on Friday, June 26, plans to reopen and begin the fall 2020 semester with on-campus learning and living using a hybrid mode of instruction designed to meet the needs of students who choose to live on-campus, students who choose to learn remotely, and commuters.
Recommendations were developed by the College's Fall 2020 Reopening Task Force, its planning committees and external experts after careful and continuous analysis of the most up-to-date guidelines in collaboration with federal, state, and local health and government officials.
“Our planning is not complete and some important details still need to be worked out, but our overall structure for the semester is coming into place,” said St. Mary’s College of Maryland President Tuajuanda C. Jordan.
Fall 2020 classes will begin Aug. 17 and conclude Nov. 20 with final exams taking place remotely Nov. 30 - Dec. 4.
The College launched the SMCM Reopening: The St. Mary’s Way website with the latest information on its reopening plans covering general campus health and safety, teaching and learning, student housing, dining services, and athletics and recreational sports.
The site will serve as the official information source for the reopening. Details and announcements, including student orientation and employee return-to-work information, will be added as more decisions are made throughout the summer.
Jordan noted in a letter to the College community that personal accountability will be the key to keeping the campus open this fall. “As we resume operations and resumption of classes, we ask that each member of our campus community embrace The St. Mary’s Way — our culture of responsibility, resilience and caring. The health and safety of our community is our paramount priority as we adapt to the challenges of the pandemic.
“Our St. Mary’s Way requires that each of us ‘take individual responsibility for our actions’ and ‘foster relationships based on mutual respect, honesty, integrity and trust.’”
Several actions already taken by the College have been addressing the hardships some families and students are likely facing during the pandemic. The College worked quickly early on to support its students by establishing a donor-funded Recovery Fund, which included a generous $50,000 donation from the Student Government Association.
In addition, a one-year tuition, fees and housing freeze, put into place before the pandemic to help with student access and affordability, has also turned into a critical asset in assisting students address the unexpected economic challenges of the pandemic.
The Board of Trustees of St. Mary’s College of Maryland announced in February a freeze in tuition, fees, and room and board costs for the 2020-2021 academic year. The action came on the heels of a 2019 Task Force charged by Jordan to recommend how the College, as a public honors institution, could better ensure access to students who qualified.
As reopening plans unfold, the College is forming a Frequently Asked Questions page. A form to submit questions is linked throughout the reopening site.