(Tuesday, June 16) In anticipation of the start of the fall 2020 semester, I’m pleased to provide you with details of Le Moyne’s “Back Home to the Heights” plan for students, faculty and administrators. Among the key components of the plan are an early start date for first-year students, preventative measures to ensure the safety and health of all campus members, flexibility in instruction delivery and an early end to the on-campus portion of the semester. It’s important to note that this plan is pending final approval by the State of New York and is subject to changes based on forthcoming guidelines in the New York Forward parameters for higher education institutions.
My intention has always been to open for the fall semester and this plan does that in a responsible, thoughtful and deliberate way. Back Home to the Heights was developed in wide consultation with both on-campus and external constituencies. It follows all rules and protocols that have been provided by various agencies, including Onondaga County, the State of New York and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
First-year residential students will arrive between Aug. 13 and 15, and upperclassmen will return between Aug. 28 and 31. Much of the plan details measures to ensure a safe return to residence halls, academic buildings, dining facilities and common areas. To that end, where necessary the College will reconfigure spaces such as classrooms and laboratories, residence halls, administrative offices and large gathering areas (like the Noreen Reale Falcone Library, Campus Center and Panasci Family Chapel) to support public health practices. Changes could include adding protective barriers, posting appropriate signage throughout campus and removal of furniture.
Each element of the plan was specifically formulated to ensure that the health and safety of all community members are safeguarded through the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), personal hygiene, social distancing and enhanced cleaning practices. It also establishes clear guidelines for symptom monitoring, testing, on-going health surveillance and, if necessary, isolation and quarantine for anyone testing positive for COVID-19.
An overview of the plan can be found below. You can also find much more detail on the Back Home to the Heights page, including extensive FAQs and links to important campus resources.
I appreciate your patience as we worked to develop this plan. I know I speak for all members of the College community in saying how excited we are welcome you to campus in just two short months!
Linda M. LeMura, Ph.D.
Back Home to the Heights - Plan Highlights
Reopening in Phases – The College will reopen on a phased timeline that will follow all public health protocols for reducing density, social distancing and PPE usage.
- First-year residential students will arrive between Aug. 13 and 15, and upperclassmen will return between Aug. 28 and 31.
- Move-in days will be adjusted to reduce the number of individuals on campus and in one location at a given time.
- Two to four weeks before the semester begins, employees will be permitted to return to campus for limited periods to open classrooms, laboratories and residence halls to prepare for the beginning of the semester.
Residence Halls – The College has put in place specific guidelines for how students will live safely in residence halls. Occupancy in residential on-campus building will be reduced.
- Occupancy in residential on-campus buildings will be reduced. Campus Life will be in touch with students individually if their housing will be affected.
- The College will limit ID card access to only students living in a specific building.
- Use of bathrooms, elevators and laundry facilities will reflect social distance guidelines.
- Training will be provided on public health measures and signs/symptoms of COVID-19 for all live-in professionals (area directors, resident advisors, etc.).
- Common areas in residence halls will be re-configured to ensure social distancing and there will be enhanced cleaning and sanitation of those spaces.
Academic Calendar and Classroom Spaces – The College will alter its academic calendar and build flexibility into its classroom instruction plans.
- First-year students, both residential and those who commute, will spend their first two weeks on campus attending orientation activities and taking an accelerated Core 100 course; this course will conclude in September. More information on orientation and taking the Core class is forthcoming.
- Regular coursework for the semester will begin on Monday, Aug. 31.
- There will be no holidays or breaks during the fall 2020 semester (except weekends) and in-person classes will conclude by Thanksgiving. All remaining instruction and final exams will be done remotely.
- Classes will be conducted using a hybrid instructional model to decrease density in individual classrooms and throughout academic buildings.
- Specialized accommodations will be made for students who may be susceptible to COVID-19 and need to take courses remotely.
- Classroom safety measures will include physical distancing, assigned seating and attendance tracking to facilitate contact tracing, and the mandatory use of face coverings for all students and faculty.
- Specialized plans will be developed for students who are at an increased risk due to the occupational nature of their studies (i.e. health professional students) and in instances where social distancing is difficult, such as dance and theater.
- Faculty will undergo extensive training during the summer months and will be prepared to teach their courses in both hybrid and distance education formats (if necessary).
Screening and Safety Precautions – A wide range of health and safety measures will be put in place, consistent with CDC guidelines for higher education institutions.
- The College will require all students and employees to conduct a screening protocol every day before arriving to campus or before leaving their residence hall. The screening may ask if they currently have a fever or are exhibiting any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. Based on responses, they will either receive approval to engage in on-campus activities or be instructed not to attend work, class, or on-campus activities with directions regarding next steps.
- The College will develop agreed-upon guidance for testing, reporting, and tracing with the Onondaga County Health Department.
- The College will provide adequate supplies of hand soap, disinfectant solution and hand sanitizer.
- Face coverings will be required by all students, employees, and visitors, in the presence of others, and in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- The College will implement enhanced cleaning and sanitation of classrooms, offices, bathrooms and residence halls
Other important elements of the plan
Pre-arrival Education and Activities
Prior to the start of the semester all students and employees will be required to complete 1) an online educational module on expected health behaviors and 2) a COVID-19 screening questionnaire that will assess symptoms, testing and recent travel history, among other questions. All students and employees will be encouraged to self-quarantine for seven (7) days before they return to campus. Viral testing for COVID-19 should be completed prior to any on-campus activity if an individual is symptomatic, has known exposure to COVID-19 or has been to a high-risk event or travel destination where there is continued widespread sustained transmission of COVID-19.
Sodexo, the College’s food service provider, will adapt its normal service to reflect best practices; changes include eliminating self-serve buffets, providing take-out as an option, ensuring social distancing while dining, having appropriate fixed partitions where needed, limiting the density in the cafeteria, using pre-wrapped utensils, and adding directional signage to control patterns of movement.
Campus Activities and Meetings
College sponsored events must be mission-critical and advance approval must be granted by the Event Management Office. Event hosts are responsible for ensuring adherence to all applicable health and safety measures. To reduce the size of gatherings and ensure social distancing, meeting spaces will be rearranged or furniture removed. Wherever possible, meetings will be held virtually (even when participants may be on campus).
NCAA Athletics, Recreation and Intramurals
At this time decisions related to Le Moyne’s NCAA Division II athletic program, intramurals and club sports have not been made but all planning will follow the guidelines and best practice statements from the NCAA Sports Science Institute, the National Athletic Trainers' Association, and the National Intramural-Recreational Sport Association. Recreation facilities will follow local, state and federal recommendation and is expected to be in line with re-opening protocols for commercial fitness centers.
Employees on Campus
While certain staff and administrators will continue to work remotely whenever possible, each office is developing a workplace safety plan outlining how operating procedures and physical workspace will be adapted to ensure health protocols are met while also providing comprehensive support to our students.
Visitors to Campus
Visitors to campus will be limited to current and prospective students, parents and families during move-in periods, employees, approved guests, and designated vendors and service providers. All visitors must follow guidelines related to hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and social distancing. In general, visitors will be restricted from accessing residence halls and other campus facilities, unless as part of an official tour. All visitors must conduct symptom screening (preferably before arrival on campus) and will either receive approval to be on campus or be denied access to campus. All offices will maintain a visitor log in the event contact tracing is deemed appropriate.
Masses, Prayer Services and Vigils
Campus Ministry will adhere to modified liturgical instructions in consultation with the Diocese of Syracuse with a system of registration for all attendees as well as procedures for participation. People who are sick or symptomatic will not be allowed to attend services.
Hymnals and other shared items of high touch exposure will be removed. The chapel will be cleaned between each service and furniture reconfigured to allow for social distancing and reduced occupancy. There will be no offertory procession, no physical exchange of the sign of peace and no offering of the Eucharistic wine. Communion will involve receiving the host in the hand, stepping aside, removing the face covering, consuming the host and returning the face covering.
The plan is based on the work and recommendations of the College’s COVID-19 Task Force, which has been studying this issue and meeting regularly since February 2020. Additionally, in April task force members formed several subcommittees that were tasked with developing specific aspects of this plan.