LA PLATA, Md. – The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Board of Trustees voted July 11 to modify the college’s current vaccine requirement for students – allowing unvaccinated students to attend Hy-Flex classes, which are taught online and face-to-face simultaneously. Currently, CSM requires vaccinations for most students who are taking classes onsite, and masking is optional, though highly recommended. The change will occur Aug. 1, 2022 to allow time to transition to the Fall Terms.
“Our position has always been, and will remain, that we will provide a safe learning and work environment for our students, faculty and staff based on the scientific information and recommendations we are given by our local health officers and the CDC,” said CSM Board Chair Shawn Coates. “I am proud of the work this board has done to continuously monitor, evaluate and deliberate on the threat that COVID-19 presents. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and we have yet to reach endemic status. We believe this is the best decision for the immediate future.”
As part of this modification to the policy, non-vaccinated students who choose this option must provide a signed statement that they understand their risk and may be required to move online, if there is a spike in COVID-19 cases, or new COVID-19 variants are identified.
In addition, CSM will be converting additional face-to-face and Hybrid courses to the Hy-Flex learning option, which combines the virtual environment with in-person instruction. Hy-Flex courses meet according to a set schedule, and students can choose to attend class virtually or on campus. CSM offers five different instructional types to make college more accessible to those with busy schedules.
CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy thanked the board for its leadership.
“As the information surrounding this pandemic has changed, so have our policies,” she shared. “From working/learning fully remotely, to coming back to campus with limited capacity – and then full capacity; to requiring vaccinations and moving from mandatory masking to removing the mask requirement all together, we continue to act in the best interest of our communities.”
Vaccinations are not an admissions requirement. Unvaccinated students are still encouraged to enroll in web-based and Real Time Technology courses, but until this modification, have not been permitted to enroll in classes that meet onsite, unless they had received a medical waiver. CSM is also continuing to support unvaccinated students on an individual basis by developing solutions for completion of on-campus courses that impact their graduation.
The board plans to reevaluate the status of the policy before the Spring 2023 semester.
CSM will maintain its current requirement for COVID-19 vaccinations for employees, unless an approved exemption is granted.
CSM enhances lives and strengthens the economic vitality of our diverse and changing region by providing affordable postsecondary education, workforce development, and cultural and personal enrichment opportunities. At CSM, our communities can choose from a wide array of quality programs designed to help meet professional and personal goals—be it a new career, expanding knowledge, or exploring a new hobby. Learn more at https://www.csmd.edu/apply-register/index.html.