President Loyack shares preliminary plans for Fall 2020
Dear Alvernia University Community,
I write you today with the most exciting news since our departure from campus March 18. After much research, planning and work by many colleagues, I am pleased to inform you that Alvernia University is actively preparing for an in-person fall semester, consistent with guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control, Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The health and safety of our extended campus community remains our top priority. Our reopening plan will allow us to systematically adapt our campus, curriculum and operations to safeguard health. Our goal is to be on campus and stay on campus safely.
We will soon provide you with detailed procedures for reopening the campus but wanted to give you the dates as soon as they were determined for your planning purposes.
- Classes for the fall 2020 semester will begin as scheduled on Aug. 31, campus-based, in-person instruction for a majority of courses will end Nov. 25, with the remainder of the semester – including final examinations – delivered remotely when classes resume after Thanksgiving break on Nov. 30.
- To minimize travel and lower the risk of possibly spreading Coronavirus on our campuses, classes will be held during regularly scheduled fall breaks, including Labor Day and the Feast of St. Francis. Residential students should strive to remain on campus throughout the term.
- An extensive return to work plan for faculty and staff has been established, with a phased return to our campus locations commencing July 6. The plan includes small cohorts of students returning to campus over the summer, with significant prevention and public health procedures in place to help maintain the health and safety of our students, employees and local communities. All faculty will return to campus as scheduled Aug. 15.
- Detailed plans for intercollegiate athletics are being developed in accordance with NCAA and Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) guidelines. Further information, including report dates for fall preseason, will be sent directly to student-athletes by the Department of Athletics & Recreation.
- All Alvernia employees and every student choosing to attend this fall are fully expected to commit to health and safety guidelines, out of respect for our close community of learning and work. The success of the University’s plans will be largely dependent on everyone doing their part. While on campus, students, employees and visitors are expected to wear face masks or coverings, practice social distancing, practice hand hygiene by frequently washing and sanitizing, follow protocols for covering coughs and sneezes, stay home if sick and clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces. The University will employ enhanced cleaning and sanitation, hygiene stations, plexiglass, signage and various other measures to provide for physical distancing and other health and safety needs.
Although there is still much work to be done, our Pandemic Response Team, together with the ad hoc faculty committee and other professionals on and off-campus, remains vigilant in monitoring federal, state and local public health updates. More communication will be shared about our plan in the coming weeks and we will modify or issue additional guidance based on the latest information available.
As we continue to outline the plan to advance our educational mission on campus, we do so by acknowledging the physical and psychological health and well-being of our entire campus community, including the direct impacts of COVID-19 and the indirect consequences of mitigation tactics.
I am grateful to the Alvernia community for your patience, commitment and trust as we embark upon an unprecedented year, with continuing pandemic conditions.
John R. Loyack