Dear Faculty and Staff Members,
As the year very rapidly draws to a close, I commend all of you on an extraordinary fall semester that truly is one for the record books. Thanks to your efforts, we have been able to fulfill our mission and serve our students in the midst of this historic pandemic. While I know many of you have obligations over the winter break, I do hope it is a time of rest, relaxation and reflection for all.
With the benefit of our experience from the fall, the advice of public health experts, and the strong mitigation efforts in place—including a new and robust coronavirus campus testing program—we will move ahead with our plans for spring. This includes welcoming more students into our residence halls; offering our previously announced combination of in-person, remote and hybrid courses; and resuming a limited schedule of athletic competition.
I realize these plans may sound counterintuitive as Pierce County and the rest of the country are managing a surge in COVID-19 cases—and even though a vaccine has been approved for use and is beginning to be administered across the nation, it likely won’t reach most of the population until later in the spring. The virus will clearly be with us for some time, but as a campus community we have demonstrated that we can move forward as safely as possible when we adhere to the rigorous safety protocols we have in place.
One of the main reasons that we feel prepared to move forward as planned this spring is the introduction of the new testing protocol that Counseling, Health and Wellness Services shared with us last month. Please look for more details on this protocol from Dr. Kelly Brown soon, and if you are able, please join us for a town hall meeting on testing for faculty and staff members tomorrow at 10 a.m. By offering convenient, self-administered PCR saliva testing on a frequency that aligns with the amount of time you spend on campus and the degree to which you have in-person interactions with others, we will catch more asymptomatic cases and be better prepared to prevent an outbreak.
Other mitigations that are in place for spring include:
All of the aforementioned information will be shared with students and families later this afternoon.
Please continue to visit pugetsound.edu/spring2021 for the latest information about the spring semester. The site also includes a link to the COVID-19 dashboard, where you can track test results and monitor the presence of the virus in our community, both on and off campus.
The spring semester will challenge us and will require both flexibility and perseverance, but our community has proven, time and time again, that we are able to come together and meet the moment presented to us. As I have expressed before, that’s who we are and that’s how we roll. I look forward to seeing you soon and invite you to mark the following dates on your calendar:
Update on Coronavirus Testing Protocol for Spring 2021 Semester for Faculty and Staff
Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, 10 a.m.
Spring 2021 Update Town Hall for Faculty and Staff
Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, noon
35th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration
Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, 6:30 p.m. (first day of spring semester)
State of the University
Update on Budget and Financial Planning
Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, noon
Information on accessing these Zoom meetings is available at pugetsound.edu/covid19internal.
As always, I look forward to your questions and comments, and appreciate your colleagueship and partnership, as we wrap up fall 2020 and look forward to the new year.
Isiaah Crawford, Ph.D. | President