Live Learn Work: Our Fall 2020 Semester

President Katie Conboy with a mask onToday, in a letter to the students of Saint Mary’s, President Katie Conboy outlined the first steps for students arriving on campus.

“We are so excited to welcome you to campus! I don’t need to tell you that it has been a strange and difficult spring and summer, and while things will certainly not be completely back to normal when you arrive, we want you to know that we have worked diligently on myriad issues related to opening the College safely for Fall 2020. We look forward to launching the semester on August 10 — and doing so in a way that prioritizes the wellbeing of all members of the Saint Mary’s College community.”

Conboy communicated expectations for health, wellness, and safety. As is the norm in most communities, mask-wearing and physical distancing will be required everywhere except in students’ room or suite — or in outdoor spaces where physical distancing can be maintained. 

“We will ask that all members of the community take responsibility for their basic health status and to make every effort to conform to the safety standards established for the Saint Mary’s College community. Please do your part to keep yourself and everyone else healthy! We will still have a lot of fun!” Conboy said.

Here’s what you need to know:

Before you arrive: In order to make a successful return to campus, students must take two important steps. 

  1. You must complete the online training module that outlines the health and safety guidelines established by Saint Mary’s College. This training module will be sent in a future communication. 
  2. All students attending in-person classes, including those living off campus, must be tested for COVID-19 prior to coming to Saint Mary’s for the Fall 2020 semester. We advise you to complete testing 10 to 12 days in advance of your campus arrival. Students were emailed a physician’s order and instructions on how to obtain a COVID test. New web pages contain a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions and other detailed information. 

After you arrive: Once you are cleared to arrive on campus, Conboy describes several aspects of health awareness that can be managed by students. She summed them up using a brief mantra for each day—"Check up. Mask up. Back up. Wash up.”

  • Check up: Daily health awareness is an important element of preventing the spread of COVID-19. All members of the Saint Mary’s community will receive a daily prompt reminding them to log in and record their health status before reporting to class or to work. If you have a fever or other possible symptoms of COVID-19, you should remain home or in your residence hall.  Students should contact the Health and Counseling Center for further information. 
  • Mask up: Saint Mary’s requires that all community members have a mask on their person at all times, that they wear a mask in indoor public spaces, and that they wear masks outdoors when physical distancing is not possible. Masks must cover the nose and mouth and should be cleaned regularly. Students should plan to bring a supply of face coverings.
  • Back up: Physical distancing applies everywhere you go outside of your family unit.  A family unit at Saint Mary’s is the residents of your assigned living space — your roommate(s). In all interactions outside the family unit keep a distance of at least 6 feet from others. Try not to linger in locations where physical distancing is difficult, and wear a mask! 
  • Wash up: Hand hygiene is important for so many health reasons! But especially in this time of COVID-19, wash your hands frequently!

New and Continuing Health Services

The College will offer both new and continuing services for maintaining your health and wellness. For students who exhibit COVID-like symptoms or for those who have been identified as a close contact of a person that has tested positive for the virus, a testing site has been set up adjacent to the Health and Counseling Center. Saint Mary’s has partnered with LabCorp to provide the gold standard in COVID testing, and will pursue contact tracing to protect community members who may have been exposed to someone with an active COVID infection. The Health and Counseling Center will continue to be open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. to address student healthcare needs that are not related to the pandemic. The College is also excited to announce that we are in the final stages of contracting for a new service that will supplement our campus-based Health and Counseling services with a 24/7 telehealth option for all students.

Finally, she encouraged Saint Mary’s students, faculty, and staff to continue exercising and staying in good health. To that end, the Angela Athletic facility will be open for regular hours — with some capacity restrictions to maintain health and safety standards. Outdoor exercise remains your safest option, and community members are encouraged to conduct their exercise outdoors while the weather permits. 

“I know that these health protocols will require sacrifices from all members of our community, and I thank you for your compliance,” Conboy said. “You will find other safety measures in place when you return: signage indicating one-way navigation in some buildings, hand sanitizer stations at all entryways, plexiglass dividers in some office and residence hall spaces, and capacity signage in bathrooms and other public spaces.”

Watch for further detailed information about living and learning at Saint Mary’s this fall from Provost and Senior Vice President Titi Ufomata and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Gloria Jenkins. 

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