Friday Update – Aug. 28, 2020

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

I am glad to hear from so many of you that these “Friday Updates” have been helpful in preparing for the fall semester. We are all excited for classes to begin on Monday, along with a robust schedule of events and activities that signal the beginning of a new academic year.  

These weekly updates are concerned with the nuts and bolts of preparing for the fall semester, and that preparation includes our institutional response to the events taking place throughout our country. Our hearts ache from the acts of violence we have witnessed over the summer, from the murder of George Floyd to the recent shooting of Jacob Blake, and our thoughts are with all who have been impacted by the devastation wrought by Hurricane Laura. 

In these challenging times we are called to lift each other up. Our colleagues in the Race and Pedagogy Institute continue to provide important educational opportunities each week, and calls to action that enhance the understanding and commitment of our community here on campus and beyond. We will also promote the clarion call for racial justice by convening next week the first gathering of the President’s Panel on Racism, a group of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and trustees that will meet with me throughout the year to advance our commitment to social justice for all.

Athletic facilities. Thank you for your patience as we have navigated advice and requirements from the NCAA, Northwest Conference, and public health authorities. We are thrilled to announce that access to indoor recreational spaces within the Athletics and Aquatics Center will be available fall semester for use by students, faculty, and staff members. Specific details, including opening dates, hours, reservations, and health and safety protocols, will be communicated to the campus next week.

New respiratory clinic. As shared earlier, we are opening a separate clinic for students who are exhibiting symptoms of contagious, respiratory illness. The clinic is expected to be open by Friday, Sept. 4 and is located at 3215 N. 13th St. Access to the clinic is available on an appointment-only basis by contacting Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services at 253.879.1555.

Free COVID-19 tests on campus. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department mobile testing will be available on campus at no charge and is available by appointment to all students living on campus as well as off-campus students who plan to use on-campus resources. Testing is available and highly recommended for staff and faculty who are working on campus as well. The first two dates (Aug. 29 and Sept. 1) filled up quickly, but additional testing times will be available on a monthly basis and announced soon. Free mobile testing is also available at many other times and locations near campus

Moving in. We have 177 students moving into Thomas Hall, Trimble Hall and some campus houses over the next several days, and nearly 700 students moving into or already living off campus in Tacoma. Information about the move-in process is available on the residence life website.

LogJam! The traditional event marking the end of the first week of classes is on in virtual form and open to all members of the campus community. Mark your calendars for Saturday, Sept. 5, 3–6 p.m. and look for more information on the university calendar.

First major lecture of the year. In addition to a wide array of programming over the fall semester, we look forward to welcoming former national security advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to Puget Sound for the fall Susan Resneck Pierce Lectures in Public Affairs and the Arts. The Sept. 8 lecture will be delivered remotely and is open to all Puget Sound students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents, with limited access for the general public. We hope you can join us for this special opportunity to hear directly from one of the leading military figures of our time.

Supporting our staff. Over the summer months the members of Cabinet and I have been in conversation about supporting our staff members who are particularly impacted by the pandemic in terms of their lives and livelihoods. Working with Human Resources, we are happy to introduce the new telework policy that supports staff who are working remotely; an updated sick leave policy that will strengthen support to staff during and beyond the pandemic; and a new series of professional development and training opportunities scheduled for the fall. As I announced during my welcome address to faculty and staff earlier this week, the paid two-day Thanksgiving break for staff members in 2020 has been extended to three days, Wednesday, Nov. 25 - Friday, Nov. 27, and we hope this will provide more time to decompress and recharge in the middle of a very busy fall semester.

I will continue to keep you informed as decisions are made about the fall and upcoming spring semester, and wish you all the best as we navigate the year together. We are all in for fall, and can’t wait to get started!

With appreciation for each and every one of you,

Isiaah
Isiaah Crawford, Ph.D. | President