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Student Return to Campus Information
It is critically important that students who will return to campus for an in-person learning and residential experience fully understand the expectations, protocols, and requirements to which they will be expected to adhere for their health and safety as we work diligently to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The Morehouse approach to mitigating the spread of COVID-19 includes a continuous regimen of testing, physical distancing, personal hygiene, and limiting the number of individuals on campus at any given time. Morehouse has also made provisions for facilitating isolation/quarantine protocols in the event that a residential student tests positive for the virus or comes in contact with an infected individual during the course of the semester.
Please review the following information carefully to ensure that you have a solid understanding of your responsibilities.
- Take tests: You will need to take a COVID-19 PCR Test within three to five days of arriving on campus for residential house move-in or to start classes. On the day of your campus arrival and on a weekly basis, thereafter, you will also be required to take a COVID-19 Rapid Test.
- Campus screening:
- Initial Arrival - Upon initial arrival on campus, you will be subjected to COVID-19 screening, which includes taking your temperature and symptom tracking. Please know that if you have a body temperature that exceeds 100.4 degrees or present any other COVID-19 symptoms, you will not be permitted to enter the campus. Additionally, you may be accompanied by no more than two individuals (if driving) who must also meet the screening standards; if anyone accompanying you has a body temperature above 100.4 degrees or presents other COVID-19 symptoms, you will not be permitted to enter the campus.
- Ongoing - Each time you exit the campus and return, you will be subject to the above-referenced screening requirements.
- Enrollment requirements: In addition to the COVID-19 protocols, in order to be granted access to the campus for residential house check-in, a student must complete the enrollment process, which includes being registered for at least 12 (full-time) credit hours and having fulfilled all financial responsibilities, meaning the student account is paid-in-full resulting in a zero-balance due; this process must be completed by January 26, 2021.
- Pause and prepare: Upon arrival on campus and once approved for residential house check-in, you will be required to participate in a five-day separation in your room. The only reasons for you to leave your room will be to utilize restroom facilities and access your meals within the campus dining facilities.
- In-person versus virtual instruction: Any class that is being taught in an in-person modality for the 2021 spring semester will also be available virtually. Therefore, no student will be obligated to be on campus for any class.
- Personal protective equipment: Upon arrival on campus, you will be provided with a small starter kit of personal protective equipment, including masks, hand sanitizer, and a thermometer. However, you will need to provide your supply of personal protective equipment for ongoing use.
- Self-Care: Take time for self-care and to get ready for the semester after you arrive during a period in which all students will remain separated from others as our public health experts ensure that no one living on the campus has the virus.
- Wear a mask: Wear a face mask at all times when moving about the campus, especially in public spaces such as classroom buildings, the dining hall, and even the residential houses (unless in your private room) or whenever around others, ensuring that the mask fits snuggly and fully covers your mouth and nose. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a face mask, you must provide official physician documentation to certify such and alternately must provide (at your own expense) and wear a face shield.
- Stay physically distant: Stay at least six feet away from others at all times.
- Maintain small groups: Congregate only in small, socially distanced groups.
- Monitor yourself: Track your symptoms daily to ensure that you are not exhibiting symptoms of the virus.
- Cooperate with contact tracing: Cooperate with public health officials who are identifying people who may have come into contact with an individual infected with COVID-19.
- Be prepared to isolate or quarantine: Be prepared to separate yourself if you have the potential to spread the virus.
Before you arrive for move-in (residential students) or in-person classes (commuter students), make certain that you adhere to the following:
- Take a COVID-19 PCR Test within three to five days of arrival.
- Submit your negative pre-arrival COVID-19 PCR Test results via Medicat.
- Delay your arrival if you have tested positive, exhibited symptoms, or come in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 within the two weeks prior.
- Take the online safety training course.
- Take a COVID-19 PCR Test within three to five days of arrival. You will need to take a COVID-19 PCR Test and receive a negative result within three to five days of arriving on campus for residential house check-in or to start in-person classes. It is important that you take a PCR test and not an antibody test.
- Submit your negative pre-arrival COVID-19 PCR Test results via Medicat. If you do not submit your test results, you will not be able to move into your residential house or take in-person classes. During this time, you will be responsible for arranging your own housing accommodations. If you test positive for COVID-19 before your arrival, you will be required to isolate for at least ten days and must also submit two back-to-back (within 24 hours of one another) negative PCR tests to be granted campus access.
- Delay your arrival if you have tested positive, exhibited symptoms or come in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 within the two weeks prior. If you test positive for COVID-19 prior to your arrival, you should remain at home and adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s isolation/quarantine guidance. Additionally, you will need to submit two back-to-back (within 24 hours of one another) negative PCR test results to be approved to access the campus. Classes can be attended virtually during this time.
- Take the online safety training course. Before arriving on campus, you will need to complete an online training course entitled, ‘Keeping our Campuses Safe’ and take an Atlanta University Center Consortium, Incorporated ‘Safety Pledge.’ This training will provide information on the AUCC COVID-19 guidelines and shared responsibilities and strategies for limiting the spread of COVID-19. You will receive an e-mail invitation with a link to the training.
- Upon arriving on campus, you will take a COVID-19 Rapid Test provided by Morehouse.
- Once approved for residential house check-in, you will be required to participate in a five-day quarantine within your room. The only reasons for you to leave your room will be to utilize restroom facilities and access your meals within the campus dining facilities. The purpose for the quarantine is such that campus and AUCC public health experts ensure that no one living on campus has the virus. You can take this time for self-care and prepare yourself for the semester. Administrators will develop clear schedules for food service/meals during this timeframe.
- Students residing on campus or accessing an AUCC campus (including the Robert W. Woodruff Library) are expected to daily complete an online questionnaire relating to symptoms and possible exposure to COVID-19. This can be completed on a mobile device. Once the questionnaire has been completed, students will receive a digital pass allowing them access to designated campus buildings.
What is a PCR test?
- A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test detects the COVID-19 virus by searching for the presence of RNA, the virus’s basic genetic material, inside a person. The virus’ RNA will be present only if a person is currently infected. The PCR test differs from an antibody test. An antibody test can be used to determine if a person has previously been infected with the virus by examining a person’s bloodstream for the presence of a specific antibody produced by the body’s immune system to defend against the virus.
Where can students get a PCR test?
- PCR-based testing is generally available through many sources, including state, county, or local departments of public health (where they are generally free), or private physician offices (where there may be a charge). Students are strongly encouraged to schedule tests well in advance to receive testing within the required testing window, as appointment times may not be available for several days due to high demand. The following links may be used to find a testing location, though you may find a testing location in other ways:
- Georgia residents may use this link to schedule a test through county health departments.
- Non-Georgia residents may use this link to find COVID-19 testing locations.
- If there are no testing sites available, students should contact the Office of Student Services to receive alternative options (e.g., mail-home kit, etc.).
Are my test results private?
- All results are covered under the HIPAA Privacy Rule requiring the protection and confidentiality of any personal health information.
When would I have to isolate or quarantine?
- If our public health team believes that you may have come into close contact with someone known to have tested positive for COVID-19, you may be required to quarantine in your room or move to isolation/quarantine housing accommodations for seven to ten days. Morehouse will work with you to ensure that you receive meals and can participate in virtual learning during this time. If you develop symptoms, you will need to quarantine yourself and work with the Student Health Services Center to address any medical issues. If you do not develop symptoms, you will be tested on the seventh day of your quarantine period. Once a negative test result has been returned, you will be permitted to resume your normal activities. Residential students who notice that they are exhibiting symptoms of the virus should immediately quarantine themselves in their rooms and contact the Student Health Services Center for assistance.
What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?
- Isolation differs from quarantine in that it pertains to individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, while quarantine pertains to individuals who have been exposed to someone who has tested positive. If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be isolated and relocated to temporary isolation housing accommodations for a minimum of 10 days, leaving only for an urgent medical need or a life-threatening emergency. Students in isolation will have a daily check-in via phone or e-mail and report any concerns to medical staff. Morehouse will work with you to ensure that you receive meals and can participate in virtual learning during this timeframe. No earlier than ten days after symptom onset, a student can discontinue isolation if the following conditions are met:
- Resolution of fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications,
- Improvement of symptoms, and
- Obtain negative results from two separate PCR tests taken 24 hours apart.
If I am in one of the designated groups of students allowed to participate in residential learning during the 2021 spring semester, am I required to return?
- No. Students still have the option of learning virtually, just like in the 2020 fall semester.
How will Morehouse protect the safety of students, faculty, and staff on campus?
- Students, faculty, and staff will be tested for COVID-19 prior to arriving and periodically during the semester (at least once per week). College officials will follow public health guidance on contact tracing for those who test positive or have been exposed to the virus. Students who test positive will be isolated, and any students who have come into close contact with a person who has tested positive will be quarantined. Technology will be utilized to monitor increases in community virus transmission, as well as to perform contact tracing.
What is the COVID-19 testing and screening protocol for students, faculty, and staff?
- Morehouse will implement rigorous health and safety protocols that follow the guidance of federal, state, and local public health experts and epidemiologists. A robust plan for COVID-19 testing and app-based symptom tracking will be implemented for all students, faculty, and staff returning to campus during the 2021 spring semester.
- Per National Collegiate Athletic Association guidelines, testing for basketball players will be held two-to-three times per week. The plan will also use contact tracing and offer quarantine measures to isolate those who test positive for COVID-19 or have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive.
- Any Morehouse students experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can visit the newly opened AUC Student Health Center (Morehouse School of Medicine/Morehouse Healthcare) on Lee Street. Students can also call the Morehouse College Police Department for after-hours emergency support at (404) 215-2666.
Will students be provided with personal protective equipment?
- Yes. Upon arrival on campus, students will be provided with a small starter kit of personal protective equipment, including masks, hand sanitizer, and a thermometer. However, students will need to provide their own personal supply of personal protective equipment for ongoing use. If a student has a medical condition that prevents him from wearing a face mask, he must provide official physician documentation to certify such and alternately must provide (at his own expense) and wear a face shield.
Who is considered a commuter student?
- At this time, commuter students will be limited to selected student-athletes as well as students who are registered for a class being offered in-person.
What should residential or commuter students do if they have COVID-19 symptoms?
- Students who experience symptoms following their return to campus should alert their professors and the Office of Student Services so that contact tracing can begin, if necessary.
- Residential students should visit the AUC Student Health Center (Morehouse School of Medicine/Morehouse Healthcare) on Lee Street and prepare to quarantine in the temporary housing accommodations that have been set aside for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to it. Commuter students should see their personal physicians, get tested, and quarantine/shelter-in-place at their off-campus residences.
Will students or employees be penalized for failure to wear face masks or be socially distanced?
- COVID-19 containment and prevention rules will be strictly enforced. Students, faculty, and staff alike may be subject to disciplinary action for failing to follow campus health and safety guidelines.
Will Morehouse reverse its decision on re-opening campus?
- The fluid state of the pandemic could make it necessary for the College to alter its plans if safety officials deem that Morehouse cannot provide a safe environment for students. Morehouse’s Emergency Management Team is monitoring the spike in COVID-19 cases across the country as the virus continues to cause record-high rates of infection.
How has the spring semester 2021 academic calendar been affected?
- The spring semester 2021 academic calendar has been designed to reduce opportunities for the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus as much as possible. This schedule is subject to change based on the spread of the virus and the recommendations of public health officials.
- The start of the semester is Feb. 1, 2021. Select courses will be offered in-person, depending upon the availability of professors and the majors and classifications of students. Course format may change given the dynamic nature of the pandemic and necessary health precautions. Please check course listings for an updated status. Final examinations will be held from May 3, 2021, through May 7, 2021. The semester ends on May 7, 2021.
What is J-Mester, and when does it begin?
- The Morehouse College Justice-Mester (J-Mester) is a special winter term focused on social justice education. The issues are curated through courses taught by Morehouse faculty and affiliated content experts. J-Mester classes will be held from January 11, 2021, through January 29, 2021.
Will the Atlanta University Center offer cross-registration for the 2021 spring semester?
- Yes. Classes open for cross-registration will be taught virtually.
How many classes will be taught in person at Morehouse, and how many will be available online?
- Most spring semester 2021 classes will be taught virtually. An in-person experience may also be offered for some courses. Some faculty are preparing to return to campus for instruction, depending on guidance from local health officials. Select courses may be offered in-person, depending on the availability of professors and the majors and classifications of students.
Will classes that are being taught in-person also be available virtually?
- Yes. Any class that is being taught in-person for the 2021 spring semester will also be available virtually. Therefore, no student will be obligated to be on campus for any class.
Will Spring Break be added to the calendar?
- No. There will be a brief, self-care break from classes held at the end of March 2021. No classes will be held on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, or Thursday, April 1, 2021. Good Friday, April 2, 2021, was already designated a school holiday.
When will Commencement be held for the Class of 2021?
- Commencement weekend is scheduled for May 14, 2021, through May 16, 2021. Due to the fluid nature of the spread of COVID-19, the graduation date could be postponed.
What are the administrative requirements for a student to be granted access to the campus to complete the residential house check-in process?
- In addition to the COVID-19 protocols, in order to be granted access to the campus for residential house check-in, a student must complete the enrollment process, which includes being registered for at least 12 (full-time) credit hours and having fulfilled all financial responsibilities, meaning the student account is paid-in-full resulting in a zero-balance due; this process must be completed by January 26, 2021.
How can I apply for housing for the 2021 spring semester?
- A housing survey was sent to students to determine who is interested in returning to campus. Both freshman and upperclassmen housing options are available. The housing application was posted to the TigerDen housing portal. The housing application closed on January 15, 2021!
Am I guaranteed a single room due to the pandemic?
- Yes. All housing accommodations will be single occupancy.
Which residential houses will be used for student housing?
- The following residential houses will be available for occupancy: Brailsford R. Brazeal House, Charles D. Hubert House, and the Living Learning Center (LLC) will accommodate freshman students. The Thomas Kilgore Residential Commons, the Otis Moss, Jr. Residential Suites – East, Wiley A. Perdue House, and Joseph T. Robert House will accommodate upperclassman students.
Will guests who accompany the student to the campus be permitted to assist with moving personal belongings into the residential house/room?
- No. To reduce the potential risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus, only the registered student will be permitted to move his personal belongings into his residential house/room. Multiple trips from the staging location to the residential house may be required to move all personal belongings.
Will I receive a refund for my housing and meal plan if I elect to leave campus after my arrival?
- No. Once a student arrives on campus and takes possession of his residential house/room assignment, there will be no refunds for housing and meal plan costs of any amount allowed if the student elects to depart the campus for any reason at any point during the term.
Will Morehouse provide housing for students who must quarantine due to COVID-19 infection?
- The Otis Moss, Jr. Residential Suites – West has been designated as isolation/quarantine housing accommodations for students who present symptoms related to or test positive for COVID-19.
What dining options are available?
- The Chivers-Lane Dining Hall will be open for grab-and-go food options and have limited space for socially distanced seating during meals. Meal plans (14 meals per week) will be required for students residing in on-campus housing accommodations, including the Suites - East. The Morehouse College Bookstore, P.O.D. Market and Tender, Love and Chicken will also be open, subject to ongoing COVID-19 conditions.
Will there be an on-the-ground New Student Orientation (NSO) experience during the 2021 spring semester? Can students attend if they participated in the virtual NSO program in the fall?
- Yes. New Student Orientation will be held from January 25, 2021, through January 29, 2021. Outdoor activities are being planned so that freshman and new transfer students can have a modified NSO experience as they bond with their Morehouse Brothers.
Will Morehouse host community events and activities during the 2021 spring semester?
- Morehouse will continue to offer a number of virtual events and activities that will engage all students whether they are studying online and on campus. We are also considering some on-the-ground options that would fall within crowd-size limits during the pandemic.
Will students be able to invite friends from Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, or other campuses to Morehouse for a visit?
- There will be no visitation allowed at Morehouse or any other Atlanta University Center campuses.
Will the library be open for students who want a place to study?
- The Robert W. Woodruff Library will continue to provide remote and in-person services to AUC students.
What are the COVID-19 safety protocols for the library?
- The Robert W. Woodruff Library, shared by all AUC students, has instituted policies to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spread. These policies include the following: reorganizing spaces inside the library to provide for social distancing; limiting the number of individuals who can access the library at any given time; requiring personal protective equipment, such as masks; and increasing the frequency of surface cleaning. In addition, numerous library resources are available online, and library staff members are available to assist students and faculty virtually. For more information, visit the library’s website – auctr.edu.
What changes have been made to make buildings, residential houses, and common areas safe for use during the pandemic?
- Adjustments to entry points, pedestrian traffic patterns, seating, and facility layouts have been made to help maintain social distancing on campus. Signage will designate new traffic patterns and seating requirements. Additional hand-sanitizing stations have been installed in high-traffic areas. Ventilation systems have also been evaluated to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure.
How often are campus buildings, residential houses, and common areas sanitized?
- Office buildings, classrooms, residential houses, and common areas will continue to be cleaned regularly. High-touch points will be disinfected three times daily.
Will all campus buildings be open to students, faculty, staff, and visitors?
- No. Please call the campus in advance to check building access restrictions. You can reach the Morehouse College Police Department at (404) 215-2666.