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Morgan State Announces New Protocols for Entering University Buildings and Closing of Campus

Entry to Campus Facilities Limited, Mandatory Telework Expanded

Dear Morgan Community,

On March 17, 2020, I informed you of my decision to transition all instruction to an online/remote format for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. As you know, that decision was necessitated by the ongoing public health emergency associated with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) virus and the critical need to maintain social distancing in an effort to comply with the CDC guidelines to prevent and or slow the spread of the virus. At that same time, I announced the closure of all on-campus student housing facilities (except for those requiring emergency housing) and the postponement of the Spring 2020 Commencement. On March 16, 2020, the University began telework for all nonessential employees under temporary guidelines for telework, work assignments and work absences.

Given the ongoing need to work and learn remotely, and taking into account the recent directives from Governor Hogan via Secretary David Brinkley of the Maryland Department of Budget and Management New Access Protocols for All State-Owned and Operated Buildings and Facilities, are being put into place. This action is consistent with the Morgan State University Board of Regents resolution, dated March 20, 2020, authorizing me as president to make critical and expedient decisions while the Governor’s state of emergency declaration is enforced. Therefore, I hereby announce the University’s Limited Operations Plan, effective March 23, 2020, which will include the following:

  • The University will remain open, although the campus will be closed with limited operations available.
  • All University employees who can perform their duties remotely, must telework. Those who are unable to telework and are not deemed as mission-critical employees, will be placed on administrative leave as determined in collaboration with the appropriate supervisors and the Office of Human Resources.

The way we navigate our campus in the foreseeable future will be greatly impacted until the protocols have been lifted. Please know that these efforts have been enacted by the State to slow the potential spread of COVID-19 and that Morgan State University will comply.

Under the mandatory access protocols, entry into any University building or facility can only be allowed after undergoing a screening survey. Therefore, the University has made the strategic decision to close the majority of buildings on campus while only allowing varying access to others.  In addition, each building entranceway will bear a notice displaying the State’s recommended health precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. While I understand that you may find these measures to be extreme and inconvenient, we are facing a health crisis unlike any that we have faced before and we must do all that we can to stop the potential spread of COVID- 19.

Access to Buildings on Campus

The following outlines how the new process will work:

  • Entry screening staff MUST be present at all entrances.
  • Access will be controlled.
  • Prior to entry all individuals (staff, visitors, vendors, contractors, etc.) must be ASKED the Initial Screening Questionnaire by entry screening staff. The screener must attempt to maintain a distance of 6 feet while asking them.
  • Individuals who answer YES to any question on the Initial Screening Questionnaire OR refuse to participate in the screening process must be denied access to the facility.
  • Refusal by an employee to answer screening questions may result in the employee being placed on unauthorized leave without pay and may result in the imposition of disciplinary action.

The following questions will be asked and documented on file for each person entering a campus building. It does not matter if you have already completed the screening previously, each time entering a building, it must be conducted again.

  • Have you had any of the following symptoms in the last seven days: fever or chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, or any other flu-like symptoms?
  • In the past week, do you know if you have been in close (less than 6 feet), prolonged contact (more than 2-3 minutes) with someone with fever, cough, shortness of breath, flu- like symptoms, or a diagnosis of COVID-19?

Understanding the potential impact these protocols will have on how the University conducts business, and the disruption it may cause to employees scheduled to be on campus, we are requiring all non-mission critical employees to participate in telework. Please expect to receive additional guidance from Morgan’s Office of Human Resources as well as your respective unit leaders regarding what this directive entails and who it applies to. The revised guidance will provide us with the opportunity to decrease the number of employees on campus even more.

Open Facilities

  1. Library (open only to Morgan students, faculty and staff M-F, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. only)
  2. Washington Service Center (staff only)
  3. Montebello Complex (staff only)
  4. Rawlings Dining Hall (limited hours with ONLY “grab and go” food options available)

Facilities with Limited access (by appointment only for faculty and staff)

  1. Communications Building (home of WEAA)
  2. Jenkins on Academic Quad
  3. Schaefer Engineering Bldg.
  4. Mitchell Engineering Bldg.
  5. Martin D. Jenkins Hall (BSSC)
  6. Dixon Research Center
  7. PEARL
  8. Truth Hall
  9. Alumni House

All buildings unlisted have been targeted to be closed.

Let me stress that these measures, no matter how inconvenient they may seem, are necessary for Morgan to be in compliance with the directives and guidance coming from the Maryland Governor’s office as well as to put us in the best possible position to combat the spread of COVID-19. Given the suddenness of these actions, which will begin tomorrow, we are allowing those faculty and staff that need it, an opportunity to retrieve any necessary and approved materials/resources to successfully participate in telework. This grace period will begin on Monday, March 23, and will end on Wednesday, March 25. This access should be coordinated with your unit heads and supervisors, which will still be subject to the above screening process.

In closing, please let me reiterate, once again, that the University is open, but the campus is closed. What this means is that we must continue the necessary functions for this University to operate but we do not want people congregating on campus. In order to achieve this, decisive steps needed to be taken. And this is not exclusive to Morgan, as other public state universities are implementing similar measures on their campuses. Let me remind you that during this time all University policies and procedures remain in effect and must be adhered to.

Make no mistake about it, this is a challenging time for our students, faculty and staff as we adjust to the ever-unfolding circumstances brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Together, we can get through this successfully. This is The Morgan Way!

Please continue to check the University’s COVID-19 update/information webpage.

Thank you all for your understanding.

Sincerely,

David K. Wilson,
President
Morgan State University

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