Dear Campus Community,
Earlier in the summer, we provided the basic framework for how we would return to campus. Today, I offer more specifics on the plan for our return.
Our plan honors what students have asked for in pursuit of their educations, an in-person campus experience. It also honors what faculty and staff have asked for, flexibility for the most vulnerable and an on-campus environment that mitigates risk to the greatest extent possible. The way we go about work and life at Shippensburg University this fall will be different from the campus we knew before the COVID-19 pandemic. Every change is designed with the health and well-being of the community in mind. Though wearing face masks and practicing social distancing will take some getting used to, they, along with the other mitigation protocols, will be absolutely necessary components of successfully navigating through our fall semester on campus.
We have collaborated throughout the summer collecting input from students, faculty, staff, and administration. As we have evolved the plan, we continue to work to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission in our community.
Mitigation measures, though, will only be effective if every member of the campus community – students, faculty, and staff – takes personal responsibility, both on and off campus, for following the protocols.
Some key points of the plan:
- Masks are required in public. All students and employees will receive a mask upon return to campus. Disposable masks will be available.
- Learning will be offered in person, online and in blended models with new technology in spaces that permit face-to-face instruction while maintaining social distancing.
- Social distancing is required in all spaces and in any setting including face-to-face classes, meetings, and events. Classrooms and other shared spaces are being reconfigured to ensure social distancing. Dining services is modifying operations to adhere to social distancing recommendations.
- We will test symptomatic students and will provide support for positive cases. Procedures for contact tracing, quarantining, and isolation are in place following the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.
- Enhanced routine sanitization measures will be utilized, including ensuring surface hygiene in accordance with state and national guidelines. Signage and physical barriers have been installed to help raises awareness and prevent transmission.
As has been the nature of COVID-19 from its beginning, the conditions impacting our return to campus are ever-evolving, so our plans are subject to change with the changing conditions. We will continue to seek guidance from and work with local, state, and federal agencies and with the State System in adjusting operations when health guidance warrants.
Please remember to check your Ship email. We will continue to send messages on plans for returning to campus. For example, earlier today, Provost Ormond sent a message to students with updates regarding classes and students who plan to reside on campus received instructions from Director of Housing, Bill Yost. Your attentiveness and quick response when requested will ensure that we are ready for a successful fall return.
I am so grateful to all of our Ship community –students, faculty, staff, and coaches– for your dedication and resilience. Your commitment has kept our Ship on course despite turbulent seas. Our Ship is indeed mighty and I know we will weather this pandemic together. I look forward to our return in a few weeks.
Laurie A. Carter