Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues:
We are ready to welcome back our Shippensburg University students to another in-person learning experience for the spring 2022 semester on Tuesday, January 18. We are committed to providing our students with the best educational opportunities while navigating the uncertainty COVID-19 continues to create.
The COVID Response Team is closely monitoring the progression of the Omicron variant. As has been described in prior campus e-mail updates from the COVID-19 Office on December 22 and January 7, we will maintain many of the COVID mitigation strategies from the fall semester, with some variations based on guidance by CDC and PA Department of Health.
With these mitigation measures, regional infection and hospitalization data, and what we are learning about the Omicron variant, we are confident in our return to in-person instruction and activities as planned.
Recent reports indicate that Omicron is a more contagious variant but presents with milder symptoms, especially in vaccinated and boosted individuals. Unvaccinated individuals are at greatest risk, and vaccinations and boosters are our most powerful tool to reduce the chance of acute illness and death. If you are not vaccinated or boosted, please schedule your shot.
We know from fall 2021 that the classroom experience can be challenging as we encounter positive cases. We must continue to communicate, collaborate, and provide assistance where possible to fulfill our commitment to students.
Students required to isolate or quarantine should work directly with faculty to determine the best way to stay current with coursework. Along these lines, we encourage faculty to provide assistance and clear communication on expectations and assignments for students in isolation/quarantine. Please know that the university’s information technology staff will work to support any technology needs for faculty wishing to employ technology to support students in isolation/quarantine.
In addition, should faculty need to personally enter isolation/quarantine, the university’s information technology staff will be available to support your instructional needs. If a faculty/staff member has tested positive or has been identified as a close contact, please contact the COVID Office and Human Resources for assistance.
In order to ensure safety for students and employees, all members of the campus community are reminded that masks are required in all indoor campus locations (with the exceptions of residential living spaces or offices when solely occupied), including classrooms, hallways, and stairwells. In accordance with updated guidelines, members of the Ship community should wear surgical or KN95 masks rather than cloth masks whenever possible. Detailed information regarding vaccinations, masking, move in, testing, quarantine/isolation protocols, and more can be found on the Raider Respect page.
It has been a challenging two years since the coronavirus appeared, but we continue to be inspired by your resilience and dedication to our students and their success. Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do during this pandemic.
Keep checking the Raider Respect page for updates and we look forward to a safe and successful spring semester.
Charles E. Patterson
Interim President, Shippensburg University
Professor and Chair, Department of Communication Studies
APSCUF Chapter President