Dear Campus Community,
As our country surpassed 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 this week, we face the stark reminder that we are still very much in the throes of this devastating pandemic. I continue to be extremely proud of everyone’s hard work to keep our campuses safe and, by doing so, ensure we remain true to our vision of “being the most student-focused health sciences university in the nation.”
KCU is maintaining a low positivity rate among our campus populations, currently at 1.2 percent based on all faculty, staff and students who have been tested to date. Unfortunately, a much higher rate in Missouri (a 7-day average of 11.8 percent) stifles us from moving as quickly as we would like towards granting much greater access to our campuses.
Nonetheless, we are committed to identifying opportunities for our students to be together and to interact with peers in more academic and co-curricular activities. As our surveillance testing begins next week, we will update KCU’s COVID-19 positivity rate and look at the feasibility of loosening restrictions on study spaces and curricular and co-curricular activities in pursuit of those goals.
I remain optimistic for the future, and members of our KCU community are to be commended for their progress and favorable outcomes. But we did not get here by happenstance.
Because of an approach grounded in our osteopathic heritage that is focused on health, well-being and the prevention of disease, our efforts are serving us well. We have followed an intentional, thoughtful, measured approach — perhaps more conservative than others — but with decisions informed by science and following appropriate state and federal public health guidelines all along the way.
Three key teams are dedicated to the highest standards for ensuring smooth processes, the health and safety of our KCU community and the continued viability of our institution.
Our Crisis Management Team (CMT) was created six years ago to plan KCU’s responses to various manmade or natural disasters — including infectious disease. When the pandemic hit, the team was formally called together and met regularly to establish clear, detailed procedures and protocols to assure appropriate KCU responses.
Comprised of academic programs, Information Technology, Student Services and Communications, our Academic Response Team (ART) was activated March 16 to maintain KCU’s continuity efforts for our educational programs. This team meets regularly and works to identify programmatic priorities and assure that we are meeting or exceeding all accreditation standards. The ART also serves as a conduit for communication of student priorities, issues and concerns.
Our Campus Reawakening Taskforce (CRT) was activated May 8 and is dedicated to the safe, staged re-opening of our in-person campus activities and return to on-campus academic endeavors. Comprised of members of both the CMT and ART, the CRT establishes recommendations for PPE, screenings and testing; monitors public health guidelines; and stays apprised of best practices through dialogue with peer institutions — both academic and corporate. The CRT has been meeting multiple times a week.
I appreciate the ongoing conversations and feedback from all of our faculty, staff and students. Your input is helping us take positive, meaningful action in our response to the pandemic. Employees have recently completed a KCU survey and students will be completing a similar instrument this weekend. This information is helpful in guiding our ‘reawakening’ efforts.
Thank you for your feedback. I truly appreciate your participation! More importantly, I appreciate your commitment to one another. Over the next two weeks, we will look for opportunities to open more access for both academic and co-curricular activities, guided by both our campus and community environments. Have a nice weekend, and stay safe!