6/24/2020 The past few months have been challenging for all of us, as we still grapple with a pandemic and its associated disruptions, and also confront, accept, and address the systemic racism that has led to the recent protests and demands for change across the country and world. At Endicott College, we are committed to
The past few months have been challenging for all of us, as we still grapple with a pandemic and its associated disruptions, and also confront, accept, and address the systemic racism that has led to the recent protests and demands for change across the country and world. At Endicott College, we are committed to discussing and facing these issues head-on through self-reflection, listening, education, planning, and action. As an institution of higher education, we have a responsibility to do so.
Our Reimagine Endicott Task Force is developing plans for a positive return to campus in August with classes resuming as originally scheduled on September 2. Student athletes and athletic teams will also return to campus according to their original schedule. However, because of the unknowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, we currently have contingency plans in place that address many different possibilities.
Preparing campus for faculty, staff, and students to return is a College-wide effort and I thank everyone involved. Here are some important updates to date.
Returning to Work on Campus
President’s Council members, some academic deans, and other essential staff have been working on campus since June 1 on a rotating schedule. Each divisional vice president will work with their teams to begin a phased return to campus on Monday, July 6 that complies with the state’s 50% capacity mandate. A return to campus faculty and staff guide will be available to employees returning to campus. All faculty and staff will be required to acknowledge that they have read and understood the document and the return to work requirements.
Our new Provost, Beth Schwartz, Ph.D., is reaching out to faculty to gain their perspective and insight on a return to the classroom, holding office hours for student consultation, advising, and delivering top quality academic support services. Faculty teaching expertise will help guide how to continue to maintain teaching excellence while also providing a safe learning environment.
IT is working to be sure that technology remains flexible and helpful so that working from home continues to meet employee needs. With a goal to minimize face-to-face interaction as much as possible, Zoom meetings should still be heavily used, and in-person meetings are discouraged.
All supervisors should begin communicating with their team members regarding a return to campus. Supervisors will then work in concert with their divisional vice president and human resources to determine which positions and job functions will return to campus at what time.
Coronavirus Testing & Tracing
The College will follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols related to positive COVID-19 tests. School of Nursing Dean Nancy Meedzan, DNP, RN, CNE, and the academic affairs team are working in concert with the City of Beverly Board of Health and Beverly Hospital to develop a testing and tracing plan.
- All students will be offered access to the MyLahey telehealth system for easy access to virtual medical assistance.
- All members of the Endicott community will be tested upon initial re-entry to campus and be required to participate in routine “surveillance” testing through a collaboration with the Broad Institute.
- Symptom tracking apps are being reviewed in collaboration with the College’s Information Technology team.
Residence Halls, Visitors, & Large Gatherings
Advanced cleaning and sanitizing solutions are being implemented and reviewed to maximize the safety of all students in and out of the residence halls. The College is de-densifying some residence halls by including approximately 135 beds in the Wylie Inn & Conference Center and off-campus apartments as residence hall options for upperclassmen. As with on-campus housing, residence life staff will be in all off-campus housing.
Temporary quarantine and isolation space has been identified, starting with The Village, or “mods,” which is why it is unavailable for housing this year.
Single rooms are limited and not available to all students. Students will be placed in residence halls according to the authorized occupancy for each hall. Students who may be in a high risk category under the CDC guidelines who wish to request a single room as an accommodation must submit such a request in writing to Endicott’s Center for Accessibility Services and provide appropriate documentation regarding their need for a private room. These requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and single rooms are not guaranteed.
For the fall semester, students will not be allowed to have any visitors on campus, unless the visitor is here for a College-sanctioned event that allows outside attendees. This policy will be reviewed and may change for the Spring 2021 semester.
At this time, large gatherings that are not official College-sponsored events will be limited to 10 people. CDC guidelines related to social distancing will also be followed.
Changes to Dining Services
We are working closely with our partners at Sodexo to provide the entire Endicott community with a variety of safely prepared food options.
- Einstein Bros. Bagels will have a new designated pickup location on the patio outside, where students can grab their orders placed online.
- Continental breakfast and grab-and-go options will be available at the Wylie Inn & Conference Center for student residents in the Wylie Inn and Myrt Harper Rose Hall.
- Gully’s and The Lodge will offer express lunch and dinner as part of the meal plan, with touchless tap ID payment.
- At the Callahan Dining Hall, in an effort to reduce touched surfaces, students will be able to tap their Gull Card to enter; self-service food stations, drink, and utensil options will now be staffed with a Sodexo employee.
- Faculty and staff will have the ability to place lunch orders online. Orders will be delivered to a designated dining and food pick-up area.
- We will be following all state and federal guidelines in regards to social distancing in all seated dining locations.
Institute for Remote Teaching Excellence
As we build contingency plans that prepare for all eventualities, I am so proud of the recent week-long Faculty Institute on Remote Teaching Excellence and the some 400 full- and part-time faculty and staff that participated from across the Endicott spectrum representing graduate, undergraduate, professional studies, and Boston programs, plus international education. One hundred seventy-five faculty members that completed eight sessions received the Endicott College Best Practices in Remote Teaching Certificate.
A second Institute is scheduled for July to ensure that all faculty will continue to be prepared to provide the central qualities of an Endicott education regardless of the delivery method. Sessions will focus on fall courses should a need for hybrid or online learning occur.
Updates to On-site Classrooms
Discussions with faculty are taking place over the summer, with plans for seated classrooms. If the need arises, the faculty do have the ability to move to a remote format. The College has surveyed every classroom on campus to determine socially distanced layouts that comply with recommendations. Several scenarios are being considered, and when final, floors and seats will be marked to identify properly spaced locations for students, with consideration of some larger classes meeting in a hybrid format. If the College is forced to move all instruction to a remote learning format for an extended period, the College will review the cost of attendance.
- All classrooms will be equipped with stations that include hand sanitizer and cleansing wipes. We are looking at ways to increase touchless options, surfaces, and equipment across campus.
- Information Technology is adding more technology to classrooms to help accommodate spacing and provide a seamless transition to hybrid or online learning should this be required.
- Common areas are being assessed and may be repurposed as additional learning space to promote safety and social distancing.
Cross-Campus Cleaning, Spacing, & PPE
Physical Plant has been busy applying anti-microbial coating to all door handles across campus including offices, classrooms, bathrooms, entryways, residence halls, etc.
Directional, social distancing, and CDC guidelines signage is being produced and will be installed all over campus in key traffic locations including restrooms, elevators, and building entrances.
The College has ordered washable, Endicott-branded masks for faculty, staff, and students to wear when in close proximity to others. In addition, disposable masks will be on-hand for approved campus visitors and will be placed at various locations for use as needed.
As you can see, preparing for a return to campus with pandemic considerations in mind is a herculean effort. Everyone at the College has an important role. I would like to specifically thank all members of the Physical Plant staff who have worked tirelessly through the pandemic to keep Endicott’s grounds as beautiful as ever. Your campus awaits your return!
Steven R. DiSalvo, Ph.D.