Before we head into our July 4th break,
I want to update all of you on our planning for the fall semester. NYS recently released its Interim Guidance for Higher Education outlining what colleges must do before reopening to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our Campus Reopening Task Force is busy reviewing this guidance to ensure our reopening plan protects our campus community. We will be sharing our Campus Reopening Plan with the ACPHS community and submitting it to NYS in the coming weeks.
Reviewing Survey Responses
In addition to reviewing the NYS guidance, we are also reviewing the results of our recent survey of students, faculty and staff. We had an incredibly high response rate; 53% of students and faculty and 40% of staff completed the survey. Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey and providing your valuable feedback.
Starting Fall Semester On Time
While we are developing our comprehensive reopening plan, I want to reiterate that we will be starting the fall semester on time. I understand this is a time of tremendous uncertainty, but I want to reassure you that we will be open in the fall and provide some clarity on what to expect when students, faculty and staff return to campus.
Training, Testing and Screening
All of our students, faculty and staff will complete mandatory COVID-19 training prior to returning to campus. We all share the responsibility for the health and safety of our campus community.
In addition to training, all students, faculty and staff must be tested for COVID-19 prior to returning to campus in the fall so we can be confident of starting the semester without anyone infected with the virus. Students returning to campus by plane, or from one of the states impacted by Governor Cuomo's recent quarantine order, will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival to campus.
All students, faculty, staff and invited visitors will be required to complete a daily short self-health assessment to prevent anyone who is experiencing symptoms or who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 from coming to campus. For those students residing on campus, this d
aily screening will help us track symptoms and contain any possible spread of COVID-19.
If anyone indicates on the daily screening that they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, we will test them on campus and get the results quickly. This onsite testing capability is made possible by our Limited Service Laboratory certificate obtained through the Collaboratory and the Student Operated Pharmacies. Testing symptomatic people onsite
will be incredibly useful in rapidly identifying any possible infection and containing the spread.
We will also have single rooms with private bathrooms reserved in one of our residence halls for any quarantine or isolation needs.
Providing Hybrid Approach to Instruction
In an effort to balance our priorities of protecting our campus community while providing a quality educational experience, we will be offering
a combination of in-person and remote instruction for each student for the upcoming academic year. We do not plan to switch to only remote instruction after Thanksgiving break. We will be closely monitoring the health of our campus community and surrounding areas, and will adjust o
ur plans if needed to protect the health and safety of our campus community. Any student who is quarantined or isolated will be able to finish their semester through a flexible online format.
Staggering Move In
We will be staggering the arrival of students on campus, and limiting the number of people who may accompany the student at drop off. This allows us to reduce the density in the residence halls during this usually crowded move in event.
A schedule for staggered arrival is being developed and will be shared soon.
Requiring Masks and Social Distancing
We are requiring all students, faculty, staff and invited visitors to wear masks at all times in addition to maintaining a six-foot distance from others.
Roommates will not be required to wear face coverings while inside their own dormitory room. We are
providing face coverings to all faculty and staff, at no cost to the employee. Students will need to have their their own face coverings, but masks will be available for purchase at the campus bookstore. We will be training students, faculty and staff on
how to adequately put on, take off, clean (as applicable) and discard masks.
We are developing plans to maintain social distancing for learning and shared spaces, including the safest ways for our campus community to enter and exit classrooms, residence halls, bathrooms, the dining hall and library.
Increasing Cleaning, Disinfection and Air Quality
We are developing plans to increase cleaning and disinfection of all of campus buildings to adhere to the hygiene, cleaning, and disinfection requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health (DOH). We will be maintaining logs that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection. We will ensure the air filtration in all spaces is of the highest quality and will continue to monitor the air quality in our buildings.
We are limiting visitors to "invited guests" who will need student/institutional IDs or permission from an authorized member of campus to enter on-campus buildings. They will be required to abide by all campus protocols, including the self-health assessment
Having In-Person Fall Commencement Ceremonies
We are continuing to work with students on planning fall in-person commencement ceremonies. For students on the Albany campus, the ceremony will be October 11 - the Sunday of Columbus Day weekend. This was the date chosen by the majority of Albany graduates. Our Vermont campus students selected Saturday November 7 for their in-person commencement. The venue is still being determined.
In the near future, we will be providing more information on the above issues, including our comprehensive Campus Reopening Plan. We will also be continuing to use multiple communications channels, including our website and social media, to ensure our campus community continues to be informed.
Thank you all for your continued patience, collaboration and flexibility while we make significant adjustments to protect our campus community during these extraordinary times.
I wish you all a safe and healthy July 4th!