Update: Fall Reopening Planning, June 26, 2020
Dear Members of the Marist Community,
As a follow-up to the June 5th MARSTAFF and June 21st MARFAC, we are writing to provide an update on planning efforts for the fall reopening of campus and the return of faculty, staff, and students. First and foremost, we want to reiterate that the priority for these efforts is the continued safety and well-being of our Marist community.
In early May, President Murray appointed us to lead committees comprised of faculty, staff, and students focused on academics, student affairs, and campus operations. Over the past two months committee members have utilized guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, state and local government, and health experts to inform all aspects of the College’s reopening plans. Yesterday, we held a joint committee meeting to share key elements of this work, which will continue to evolve throughout the summer. Ahead of more detailed plans, which will be released in July, we wanted to provide you with an update on how the College intends to operate this fall.
As President Murray noted in his June 18th message and Thom indicated in his June 21st MARFAC, the schedule for the Fall 2020 semester has been modified to begin in-person courses using a hybrid model on Monday, August 24, one week earlier than originally scheduled. In-person classes will conclude the week of Thanksgiving and will continue remotely with one week of classes and finals week online. As part of this schedule it is important to note that some classes may be held on Saturdays, and it will be necessary to hold classes on the Labor Day holiday and eliminate the mid-semester break. The Office of Human Resources will provide additional information on when these holidays may be observed by faculty and staff.
In preparation for the fall, the Poughkeepsie campus will reopen using a phased approach, in compliance with the Governor’s New York Forward strategy. The Office of Human Resources and Physical Plant staff are working closely with each vice president to finalize plans for staff to return to campus on a staggered schedule. In the coming weeks, Human Resources will issue specific guidance on the return to work, including the process for requesting accommodations. As part of this planning, and to ensure the safety of our community, we expect that new policies will be implemented, including the following:
- All members of the Marist community will be required to wear a mask/face covering in public settings where social distancing is not possible and to practice physical distancing both inside and outside of buildings. The College has procured cloth and paper masks for this purpose and details about distribution policies will be forthcoming in July.
- Where possible, classrooms and workspaces across our campuses will be adjusted to allow a minimum of six (6) feet between each individual. Offices will operate with health and safety precautions for on-campus staff at reduced density and remote work, where appropriate.
- Monitoring, testing, and contact tracing will be an important component of our campus experience this fall. Further details will be released in the coming weeks as plans are finalized.
- All students, faculty, and staff will be required to do their part to minimize the spread of germs and keep our campus safe. This includes frequent handwashing, cleaning of personal workspaces, and health symptom screening.
- Housekeeping staff will be engaging in more frequent and robust cleaning protocols, including use of hospital-grade cleaning products and electrostatic sprayers to disinfect high-touch surfaces. Bathrooms and lounges will be disinfected a minimum of three (3) times throughout the day.
- Additional safety measures have been implemented, including the distribution of hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the campus and at the entrance to every building; installation of plexiglass barriers at reception desks, transaction counters, and other work areas that require frequent face-to-face interactions; and an increase in the amount of fresh air introduced into campus buildings by our HVAC systems.
We continue to review all aspects of student life planning, including the operation of residence halls, dining, recreational facilities, and athletics in light of reopening guidance issued by New York State. Rest assured Marist intends to meet or exceed guidelines to provide a safe environment for the whole community as we resume activities in the Fall 2020 semester.
We appreciate everyone’s dedication and hard work during this challenging time and look forward to sharing the full details of the reopening when they are finalized.
Geoff Brackett, Executive Vice President
Thom Wermuth, Vice President of Academic Affairs
Deb DiCaprio, Vice Student of Student Affairs