Over the past several weeks, Dr. Stephen Fitzhugh, Interim Provost and Dean of Faculty, has been leading a process through which Norwich University faculty, staff, and students could provide input on completion of the Fall semester due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 in general and the uptick in the spread of the virus in Vermont and nationwide.
In the survey, three scenarios were presented to each group in keeping with our University’s shared governance model. The processes included a reaffirmation of our top priorities of delivering a full and complete fall term for student success while ensuring a healthy and safe environment for all. The deadline for input is Wednesday, September 29th.
Today, I am pleased to report that there are zero positive cases in our community and that our indoor mask policy is being followed. On-campus COVID-19 testing has been administered for the past several weeks for specific groups as outlined in the September 17th Update from the Hill, and testing compliance is being tracked closely. Since the campus continues to operate safely, and our vaccination, testing, and masking policies are firmly in place, our default position of a normal fall semester is fully achievable. Our intent remains that students will head home, or elsewhere, for Thanksgiving break and then return to campus for two weeks of instruction followed by final exams as outlined here. The surveys are simply gathering input as we approach a final decision, which will be published this Friday, October 1st.
Last year, the Fall 2020 term had to be adapted the weekend prior to Thanksgiving due to health concerns. We were in crisis, and the decision making process was highly disruptive to all. Our current process of collecting input from our faculty, staff, and students is being conducted to gather input in case we encounter another crisis; we learned from last year, and want to have all data available in case we have to respond again as we approach Thanksgiving break.
I appreciate the input from our entire community via this survey. We will review all data, and I will communicate our fall semester completion plan on Friday, October 1st so our faculty, employees, students, and families can plan accordingly.
Norwich Together, Norwich Forever!