Dear students and families,
We are so excited to begin the fall semester. Whether you will be with us in person or joining us from a distance, ensuring your success is our mission. While COVID-19 continues to present challenges to our community and across the globe, we know the way we must carry out the semester will have to be different than what we had hoped for in a return for fall 2020. But we are ready. Our team has been working all summer and will continue to work throughout the fall to provide an experience that seeks to minimize the spread of COVID-19 while maximizing the opportunities to offer the Ship experience. A lot of that experience will have to be virtual, but for those who want to engage, we have taken painstaking measures to allow for in-person experiences that also focus on the health and well-being of all in our community.
Here are just a few of the ways we have prepared:
Students are welcomed back to campus with a welcome kit including a face mask, hand sanitizer and important information. Campus is adorned with helpful signs and markings to ensure everyone knows the appropriate distancing and mitigation protocols in all spaces. You won’t go far on campus without the opportunity to monitor your wellness at our touchless temperature stations. Hand washing stations will be located throughout campus and sanitizer dispensers are now common room decorations.
Our dining services has instituted protocols that minimize contact and maximize convenience with many grab and go options and added open air seating.
Classrooms have been spread across campus to reduce density throughout buildings. Large spaces have been reconfigured to serve as classrooms so that desks are spread out for appropriate social distancing, and every classroom has clearly marked seating that maps accurate spacing. In addition, faculty will be able to conduct class from behind plexiglass so that professors can move about freely while still maintaining social distancing protocols. Our classrooms have been tested and, when necessary, retrofitted for appropriate ventilation as verified by The American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards and guidelines.
We have installed new dynamic technology for classrooms that allows every student, whether in-person or remote to fully engage with the class. And our faculty have trained and prepared for all types of learning and modalities to help students this semester.
And, if the need arises, we have developed procedures for testing, isolation and quarantining. We will test symptomatic students, and we will provide isolation housing off-campus for our residential students and assist our students living off-campus when necessary. We have employed an anonymous system for tracking social density that will assist us in contact tracing, if needed. Students who are sick will stay away from campus and will learn remotely, and those who have been exposed will quarantine until they are deemed ready to return to class.
Our COVID-19 policy will help students understand their roles and responsibilities in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the campus community. And our positive influencer campaign, Raider Respect, will reinforce the social responsibility of each member of the community.
Finally, we encourage you to continue to monitor fall2020.shipnews.org. This is your Ship COVID-19 resource and is updated regularly.
Dr. Tom Ormond, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dr. Kara Laskowski, APSCUF Chapter President and Professor of Human Communications Studies