additional information about the fall semester

August 24, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

I know that many of us are feeling a combination of excitement and anxiety as we get ready for the semester and prepare to return to in-person teaching under what are less than ideal circumstances.

This email underlines some of the information that has already been communicated in emails from Maud and Marlene, and also provides additional information about the upcoming semester.

On teaching: All classes are scheduled to be held in person. Classrooms will be at regular capacity. Several tents that can serve as outdoor classrooms will be set up in locations across campus and will be available from the start of classes to around the middle of October. Seating and whiteboards will be provided in all the tents, but only some will be equipped with power. Some will have WIFI available, depending on the location. The tents will not have installed projectors. Classes will retain their scheduled classroom space in addition to the tent. Please complete this form to indicate your interest, and Carrie Greene will be in touch with further information about availability at your scheduled class time. While classes will be in person, you should feel free to schedule office hours in whatever ways work for you.

On masking: As you know from Maud’s recent email, masks are currently required in all academic buildings, including classrooms, until further notice. I understand that being masked in the classroom creates particular challenges for some kinds of teaching. We have a supply of clear masks that you can request by emailing Justine. They may be worth trying to see if they might work for your needs.

On testing & quarantining: Marlene recently sent an email to students outlining various fall semester COVID-related policies. You can also find this information in the Fall 2021 section of the college’s Covid website. All students will be tested upon arrival. Those who test positive at any point will be in isolation for ten days and will therefore need to miss class. We know that you will work in your own way to help them through this challenge and keep them on track to be successful in your course. If there is support you need from OIT or from our office, please reach out.

The CDC no longer recommends quarantining for close contacts who have been vaccinated. Instead, close contacts will need to remain masked and be tested 3-5 days after exposure.

There will be additional information about campus testing in a forthcoming Operations update.

If you test positive for COVID please remain off campus. If you are well enough to teach, you may teach remotely for that period of isolation. Feel free to reach out if you need any support.

On campus visitors: Under our current policies, visitors are allowed outdoors. They are also allowed in limited indoor locations on campus but must remain masked at all times in indoor spaces. Guest speakers are also allowed in classrooms under our current guidelines, but please make contingency plans in case we need to shift our policies. Currently, members of the public will not be allowed in public events. We will continue to review these policies based on public health data.

Community auditors are also permitted, but the decision to allow them to audit your class is yours, as it has always been under normal circumstances. Given the complexity of the situation, I know that they will understand if you choose to prioritize our students. If you do admit an auditor, we ask that they attest to their vaccination status. Please have them contact Gerrit for more information about that process.

On travel: Our travel guidelines have not changed since the announcement allowing international and domestic travel. If you are using college funds for international travel, be sure to register with International SOS.

I hope this information is useful and I encourage you to continue to email me with your questions and concerns. I know that many of you have specific questions and concerns that are better answered through individual conversations—please reach out.

I am looking forward to seeing all of you in the coming weeks.

Best wishes,