A Message from President Mary-Beth Cooper Regarding Fall Plans

Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper sent out the following update regarding some of the initial decisions that have been made regarding this fall.

Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper sent out the following update regarding some of the initial decisions that have been made regarding this fall.

 

Dear Springfield College Community,

I hope this email finds you and your family well. The past few months have brought us many challenges, but also frequent reminders of the strength of the Springfield College community. These are indeed unprecedented times, but the Springfield College community is known for its courage, compassion, and service to others. We will prevail.

We look forward to welcoming our students, faculty, and staff back to campus for a safe and productive fall semester. I write today to provide you with some of the initial decisions that have been made regarding this fall. It is our goal to provide the Humanics-based Springfield College experience that our current students and alumni have found to be so life transforming.

The planning committees and task groups of dedicated staff and faculty are working to propose actions that keep the health and safety of our community members at the core of our work while taking into account federal and state guidance. The schedule outlined below is contingent on guidance from Governor Baker’s office relative to the reopening of college campuses in the fall, as well as the direction of local and state health officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Once we have additional guidance and plans from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we will finalize our full reopening plan for review and approval as needed.

The Fall Semester

We will have a full 15-week semester this fall; however, what will be different includes the following:

  • Our first day of classes will be on Monday, August 31, a week sooner than originally scheduled. Note: Information about a staggered resident student move-in (including a specific move-in date for each student) will be sent as soon as plans are completed; and classes will be held on Labor Day, Monday, September 7.
     
  • Our last day of finals will be on Tuesday, December 15, also a week earlier than originally planned.
     
  • We will end on-campus instruction on Friday, November 20th. There will be no classes during Thanksgiving week in order to allow for a staggered move-out of students. Classes will resume remotely on Monday, November 30th. Final exams will be conducted remotely.

Health and Safety

Successfully remaining on campus throughout the fall semester will depend on the degree to which we, as a community, work together to reduce the possibility of the virus appearing on campus and, if it does, responding quickly to limit its spread. Springfield College holds as paramount the health, safety, and welfare of every member of its community, although none of us can guarantee a COVID-19-free environment. While we are taking steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infections (or any other spread of disease) at Springfield College, this is a shared responsibility. Every member of our community – including you – must do their part. This means adhering to national, state, and local health guidelines and requirements, and adhering to those measures Springfield College deems safe and appropriate for its campus. We agree to do all of this not just for ourselves, but for the safety of others, and because this is consistent with the spirit of Springfield College. It is possible that members of our community may contract COVID-19 while at Springfield College. We are taking all recommended steps to mitigate this risk, but we cannot guarantee that the virus will not come to Springfield College. By coming onto the campus, you understand that this is possible.

Community expectations will be implemented to minimize and contain the risk. These will include:

  • Enforcing the use of masks, social distancing, enhanced hygiene, and other practical measures;
  • Implementing a testing program;
  • Putting into place a contact tracing program; and
  • Identifying spaces and a process for isolating students who test positive.

In order to reduce the density in our classroom buildings, students will take approximately one-third of their classes on-line (i.e., some faculty will teach remotely). For students who do not feel comfortable living on campus or taking classes in person, opportunities to commute and/or take classes remotely will be available. Other courses will contain a mixture or remote/online activities augmented by small group class meetings to facilitate social distancing.

The Cheney Dining Center and the Union Station eatery are being reconfigured for safe dining. Our new partners Harvest Table have been in close contact with us as they prepare for a safe campus dining experience for all of us. Residence Hall protocols and procedures continue to be refined and will be communicated soon. Additionally, we are working through a number of considerations and logistics to prepare for a safe return to campus, including enhanced cleaning and sanitization; cleaning and distancing protocols for Athletics and other events; and health checks for those on campus and those coming and going from campus, including faculty and staff.

I have been incredibly proud of the work of our faculty and staff accomplished in the rapid transition to remote learning this spring and of their diligence in planning for a complex and challenging fall semester. I am confident that our entire community of students, faculty, and staff will adjust behaviors and take the steps necessary to successfully resume on-campus learning for the fall semester.

Even as we approach the fall with cautious optimism, I want to acknowledge the terrible toll the pandemic has taken. There is a deep sense of grief for those we have lost. We will never forget this experience, but it has made me more grateful for what we have. I truly believe we will emerge as a stronger community and institution because of the lessons we have learned.

We will continue to communicate throughout the summer the specifics as they are decided upon. If you have any questions about the information provided in this letter, please feel free to email me at officeofthepresident@springfield.edu. 

Again, I thank you for your patience as we seek the best options in a dynamic and ever-changing environment.

Sincerely,

Mary-Beth Cooper

Springfield College President