Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues:
We hope that you and your families are faring well during these challenging times. As we all know, COVID-19 remains a part of our daily lives, especially with the highly contagious Omicron variant. In an effort to best protect all members of our campus community, we have made the decision to extend online learning options through January 30, with the plan to return to in-person instruction on January 31. Below are details about this decision.
Background on the Decision: Our Health Team, COVID-19 Operations Team, and the President’s Cabinet have been meeting daily to review COVID-19 trends, and update our response plans. Having reviewed recent testing data which shows a campus positivity rate of 7.6%, we are extending the adjustments made at the start of the Winter 2022 term through January 30. This is one important, but temporary, step to reducing the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible.
Teaching Modality: We will continue to offer faculty and students flexibility for accessing instruction. Faculty are encouraged to continue to teach online through Sunday, January 30. If faculty choose to teach in-person during that period, they must also accommodate any student who requests to access the course content remotely.
As a reminder, our community should be prepared to pivot to fully online instruction, and to accommodate students, staff, and faculty who test positive for COVID-19 or need to isolate at any point during the academic term.
Staffing: Our dedicated staff play a key role in providing meaningful support to students. With that in mind, staff may work remotely through January 30 if they hold a position that is conducive to remote work, as defined by their supervisors. Managers of departments and programs that are student-facing should consider the needs of students as well as departmental business needs when developing staffing plans. Managers are strongly encouraged to clearly communicate and articulate the staffing plans with their respective teams and senior leaders. Strong consideration should be given to rotating, in-person schedules in order to better serve students.
Campus Services: Campus services such as dining and campus recreation will continue to be open in a modified format through January 30. Some students may delay their return to campus through Week 4.
Campus Meetings and Events: All events should comply with the University’s Guidelines for Campus Meetings and Events.
Health and Safety: Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen the community’s ability to slow the spread of COVID-19 by taking concrete actions to promote health and safety. We ask for your help by:
- Obtaining your COVID-19 booster vaccination as soon as you are eligible. Information on on-campus clinics is forthcoming.
- Participating in SCU’s COVID-19 testing program
- Wearing masks indoors at all times. N95, KN95 or KF94 masks have been identified as offering the best protection against the Omicron variant.
- Washing or sanitizing hands frequently throughout the day
- Practicing good cough and sneeze hygiene
- Reporting positive COVID-19 test results if the test was administered off-campus
We understand that extending these academic accommodations puts added stress on faculty and staff, even as we strive to provide flexibility and safeguard the health of our community. We are grateful to all of our faculty and staff who continue to adjust in response to changing conditions on campus.
Molly A. McDonald
Chief of Staff