Now that our semester is officially complete and grades are in, we can look back with some relief on our in-person portion of the semester. Nothing was normal, but things did go as planned, starting with the precautions we took—universal mask wearing, social distancing in the classroom, disinfecting seats and tables, and regular COVID testing.
From August 13th through November 20th we administered 25,198 COVID tests and had 28 positives. That’s 1/10 of 1%, which I think is amazing. While the entire campus deserves credit, our students deserve congratulations for doing all they could to help us reach this milestone. Throughout the semester, I continued to hear, from first year students to seniors, that they were truly thankful to be on campus. Even student athletes, who saw their fall contests cancelled, appreciated their six weeks of training, conditioning, and practice.
I attended a couple of faculty workshops on tips and techniques for classroom enhancement on Zoom. Faculty helped fellow faculty to better deliver the curriculum. The admissions staff pivoted to interactive virtual events for prospective students. Our counseling and tutoring programs offered video options. Our dining service Sodexo implemented grab and go choices, and the list goes on.
We redefined “Home for the Holidays” by ending our in-person semester just before Thanksgiving. Students and faculty completed the term remotely, without having to return to campus and risking any spread of the virus.
Now we can look ahead to spring semester classes, which are scheduled to begin February 1st, almost three weeks later than usual. We chose this starting date based on concern about COVID in the winter months.
Hopefully, the current troubling trends nationwide and in our region will reverse and vaccines will begin to be administered widely by then. Regardless, we will have the same protocols and testing regimen in place, leaving nothing to chance.
Our campus has proven that when times are tough, Bison are tougher. We’re looking forward to a happy new year of eventually returning to education, athletic competition, and social life as usual.