Dear AMC Community,
I write with several important updates on Anna Maria College’s plans to welcome new and returning students and repopulate our campus for the fall semester. In the weeks since our academics moved entirely to virtual learning, we have been working diligently to develop a plan to restart the on-campus experience in a way that prioritizes the safety of our students, faculty and staff and preserves the academic integrity of our programs.
Our fall plan accounts for a range of scenarios and aligns with guidance provided by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other federal, state and municipal authorities. Throughout the planning process we received valuable insight from the Board of Trustees and our faculty experts in emergency management, first response, healthcare and mental health. We appreciate the feedback given by all our stakeholders, especially that provided by our students and families. Nothing about this is easy, but we are listening.
I’m pleased to announce that Anna Maria College will resume classroom instruction on Monday, August 24, 2020. Classes will continue until the Thanksgiving break when on-campus instruction and residence will end. In general, this may vary by program, students will complete their comprehensive or final exams before they leave for Thanksgiving break and participate in planned remotely scheduled coursework through December 4th. The academic calendars for eight-week fall term online graduate/DCE students remain unchanged. On-campus instruction and residence will again resume in February 2021 for the spring semester.
As we plan for a repopulated campus this fall, we are instituting several modifications in order to create a healthy campus environment. The following outlines key facets of the fall semester plans. We are preparing subsequent communications that will expand on these elements:
· Move-in for the fall semester will take place August 20-23, 2020 to allow for social distancing protocols. The Office of Residence Life will notify students of housing assignments, specific move-in dates and times, and provide additional information in the coming weeks.· All students will be required to agree to a new code of conduct to account for the new health and safety protocols.
· Room occupancy will be limited to two students. For student athlete housing, the conferences are still determining fall sports so there will be more to follow. The Office of Residence Life will reach out to students with further details.
· Dining services will offer more “grab and go” options and will stagger eating times and locations. Our food service provider will adhere to public health protocols.
· No outside guests will be permitted on campus.
Health and Safety
· There will be new signage posted across campus to stress public health guidelines and college policies.
· The wearing of face coverings by faculty, staff and students is mandatory until further notice. Students must wear face coverings whenever they are outside of their residence hall rooms.
· Mandatory COVID-19 testing will take place twice each week until further notice. Anna Maria College along with other private higher education institutions in Massachusetts will work with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard as our testing partner.
· Students testing positive or those showing symptoms of COVID-19 will follow public health guidelines to quarantine in place and/or quarantine at home when possible. We will designate appropriate space on campus for isolation and quarantine for students unable to return home.
· The College will implement contact tracing protocols that may require additional modifications such as schedule changes and more cohort housing.
· We will deploy a smartphone app to help our campus monitor and report on COVID-19.
· We have brought on additional cleaning staff to ensure that our campus will be cleaned regularly. High traffic and high touch areas will be a priority, including all restrooms, entry/exit doors, and common areas.
· There will be sanitizer stations conveniently located across the campus.
· Classes will include a blend of in-class, online instruction, and virtual participation and assignments. More specifics will be forthcoming by academic department leaders.
· We will modify our academic calendar so that fall traditional undergraduate students will participate in on-campus instruction until the Thanksgiving Day break. Residence halls will then close and students will return home and participate in planned remotely scheduled coursework through December 4th. Billing will be adjusted for the abbreviated on-campus schedule to compensate resident students. A more complete revised academic calendar will be shared in the coming weeks.
· There are no changes to academic calendars for eight-week fall term online graduate/DCE students.
· All classrooms and assembly spaces will be reconfigured to account for social distancing.
· Classrooms will have cleansing wipes available and be thoroughly cleaned daily.
· Anna Maria College leadership have been working closely with the Athletic Department to plan for the fall. Athletics at Anna Maria is seen as a vital part of our educational offerings. There are still many challenges moving forward, and guidance on how to best navigate the COVID-19 health issues associated with athletics is still evolving. Anna Maria College will continue to work to allow our student-athletes to practice and compete without compromising the safety of our student-athletes and campus community.
· We are making plans for our athletic facilities, gym, and fitness center to be open. Proper social distancing and health and safety protocols will be strictly enforced.
· GNAC and ECFC presidents, athletic directors, athletic trainers, and medical personnel continue to work diligently to establish the safest possible conditions for student-athletes to practice and compete in the coming academic year. The GNAC and ECFC continue to review many options as information unfolds including guidance from the NCAA.
· Despite the fluidity of current information, we are still preparing for student-athlete early arrival. Currently, the plan is to begin the process of move in the week of August 17th. More details about the move in process and athletics will be sent in the coming weeks.
· The decisions involving the start of winter intercollegiate athletic practices and competitions during the Winter 2020/2021 season will be made at an appropriate time and will be informed by an evaluation of the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in conjunction with the GNAC, NCAA and the College.
I am sure that many students may have questions about how these modifications may impact student life, coursework, activities and athletics. This is the first of a series of communications framing of our fall plan. Expect to receive additional information soon, including updates from respective departments. We are committed to doing everything we can to make the fall semester safe and productive.
I look forward to seeing you in August. Until then, best wishes for a safe and healthy summer.
Mary Lou Retelle