July 31, 2020
Dear Ursuline Students:
We look forward to welcoming you (back) to the Ursuline College campus for the start of classes on August 24. You’ll notice some changes since you were last in class or perhaps took a tour of campus. We’ll highlight those changes below and in weekly Forward Focused messages as we count the days until your arrival—the first day of class is just 34 days away!
To stay on top of all this, please read your Ursuline emails religiously, especially in the coming weeks. Our back-to-campus plan has been designed with the advice of the Cleveland Clinic and follows the guidelines of the State of Ohio and the CDC. We are all aware that coronavirus circumstances continue to evolve, however, and you will want to make sure you have the latest information if plans change.
Scheduled for Success
We’ve adjusted the academic calendar to promote health and safety. Fall semester on-campus classes run from August 24 to November 24, when we break for Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving, the last two weeks of classes will be taught online. This way, anyone who travels for the holiday won't unintentionally bring illness back to campus with them.
Masks are mandatory for all of us on campus. From the staff member working all day in an office to the mail carrier making a quick delivery, everyone is to wear a face covering while on campus. This is in line with Responsible RestartOhio from the Ohio Department of Health. We’ve posted a Mask Policy FAQ here. Our culture of responsibility extends these good practices even beyond campus. Behaviors that promote health and safety, for ourselves and the community, need to be practiced 24/7. We rely on each other to help keep all of us safe.
As you all know, research shows that keeping six feet apart helps prevent the spread of disease. It may feel odd to interact with classmates, professors and staff from such a distance, but we’ll have to get used to it. Social distancing also means that classrooms, lecture halls, science labs, the library, chapel and dining hall are all being reconfigured with less seating or fewer workstations per room. Student Activities will be a mix of virtual and face-to-face activities, depending on the activity, venue, and ability to ensure student safety. We will share more details about this in the coming weeks.
Signs of the Times
When you arrive on campus, you should pass at least one lawn sign before even entering a building, and then many more signs on walls and floors inside. These remind us all about the importance of masks, social distancing, and frequent hand washing for at least 20 seconds each time. In high-contact areas, you will see people like receptionists, librarians, One Stop staff members, or professors seated behind clear acrylic partitions, just like at grocery store check-outs. These dedicated community members are just as available to educate and serve you as ever. Their shields help prevent the spread of disease and therefore benefit us all.
You’ll also find Purell stations for hand sanitizing at locations around campus, along with hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies at each copier. If you forget your mask, you can pick up a disposable one at posted locations or ask for gloves. We have an increased presence of the good people on the cleaning staff. They are committed to three cleanings per day of each restroom plus disinfecting high-touch surfaces throughout campus several times a day. Your responsible behavior will help keep these workers safe and make their tasks more manageable.
Our classrooms are being equipped so that we can provide a flexible, blended learning model that allows regular in-person instruction while maintaining safe conditions. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more details about the way education has changed in response to COVID-19. For now, please know that our goal is to prevent disease spread, keep you healthy, and provide the Ursuline College experience you seek.
In this Together
Each one of us has the potential to be a carrier of the coronavirus; therefore, each one of us must take responsibility for acting in ways that protect our entire community. Fortunately, the most important steps we can take are also pretty simple steps: wash hands frequently, wear a mask, maintain social distancing, self-isolate if you experience symptoms of COVID-19.
We hope that by re-drawing your mental picture of daily life at Ursuline now, you will be better able to focus on your classes and your future once the semester starts. We know you have more questions. Over the next month we’ll keep you up to date with weekly Forward Focused announcements like this one so you’ll be ready for a great semester. Please stay tuned and stay healthy.
Deanne W. Hurley
Vice President for Student Affairs
Civil Rights Investigator
Kathryn M. LaFontana, Ph.D.
Vice President for Academic Affairs