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President Bateman's message to faculty and staff on preparing for the fall academic term

Dear colleagues,

I hope that everyone is having a good summer. Before we know it, the new academic term will be upon us.

As I have mentioned in previous communications, our COVID-19 Task Force continues to develop plans and procedures for how we will adhere to applicable public health guidance. This is an ongoing, ever-changing process. We expect new guidelines from the Office of the Governor as soon as tomorrow, which will provide us with an additional framework for developing our fall plans.

Our primary focus throughout all of this remains safeguarding the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff as we provide an academically enriching in-person, on-campus residential experience. Every decision we make will have this at the forefront.

While many plans are still in development or awaiting further guidance, I am able to provide an update that provides information and will answer some of the questions we have recently received.

Decisions about fall events and any changes to our approach to those that attract large audiences will be made very soon. Requirements from the state and the current state of the pandemic in our area will play important parts in these decisions. Because of the current situation, we have decided to update the portal in terms of events after July 1; therefore, you will not be able to see any fall calendar events until that time.

The College will continue its no-travel policy for faculty and staff for the immediate future. In addition, we will not allow professional development travel for the fall semester. This policy may be extended for spring semester depending on conditions.

We are in the process of creating branded COVID-19-related signage for campus. There will be standard signs available for offices. Should different signs be needed, a request will need to be made to Kris Irwin, who will manage this process.

As our community begins to transition back to campus during our phased-return-approach, you will notice a change in our disinfecting and cleaning processes. Our housekeeping staff has been working hard over the summer to effectively prepare our campus for the arrival of students, faculty, and staff. We have been asked about the type of cleaning products used, and I can assure you, the staff are utilizing recommended products for this virus. Our housekeeping staff will be cleaning public spaces such as restrooms more frequently during the day and regularly sanitizing and disinfecting high-touch surfaces on campus.

The Task Force is reassessing current activities on campus on a daily basis. Many constraints remain in place, such as refraining from bringing children on campus, and meeting remotely when possible. The Task Force is considering proposals to restore some activities on a case-by-case, and typically modified, basis. If you have a question about a specific activity, please send it to Steve Willis (, who manages the agenda for the Task Force. Meanwhile, please do not assume that changes in the edicts of the Commonwealth will immediate change our local circumstances. For the time being, our customary notions of managing allocation and use of spaces individually in academic and administrative units is suspended in favor of a centralized, coordinated effort through the Task Force.

As you know, this coming year will be vastly different from what we are used to, and it will inevitably require all of us to be flexible and adaptable as situations evolve and change. I appreciate the work all of you continue to do to support our students and one another during this difficult time.

I will continue to provide updates and details as they are available throughout the coming weeks.

Please stay safe and healthy.


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