Dear Campus Community,
I am pleased to provide you with an update on our campus restart plan, which has been developed within the guidelines of the New York State Department of Health, approved by the State University of New York, and endorsed by the College Board of Trustees. Our campus restart plans remain subject to change due to new information, guidance and/or direction from the State of New York and the Governor’s Office.
I wish to thank our Restart Taskforce, comprised of individuals representing various campus stakeholder units, for their creative ideas and their continued planning to ensure academic and business continuity in a safe and healthy environment. Our plans related to reopening the campus, monitoring of health conditions, containment of potential transmission of the virus, and shut down of in-person operations on the campus if necessary in the future are being thoroughly discussed and vetted at this time. While many details are not yet available, I am able to share the following plans with you at this time.
- Beginning in August, we will gradually and methodically reopen our campus to employees. We will do so while adhering to a variety of physical distancing measures and protocols designed to detect and contain any spread of COVID-19. Face masks will be required at all times in common areas (ex: parking lots, hallways, lobbies, restrooms, elevators, open office spaces, kitchens, break rooms, etc.) and when a minimum of six feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Employees and campus visitors will be screened daily for COVID-19 symptoms, and a log will be maintained with visitors required to provide contact information and the department/employee they are visiting. Individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been exposed to a person who has tested positive will be directed to contact their health care provider or the Herkimer County Department of Public Health for instructions. The College will work with the County Department of Public Health to assist with tracking/tracing individuals who may have been exposed to the virus.
- The fall course schedule includes both on-campus and online classes. On-campus classes will be smaller to ensure proper social distancing. Laboratory courses will be conducted similarly, limiting the number of students in each course section, with added levels of protection, such as acrylic shields on lab tables and use of safety glasses, masks, gloves and disposable lab coats.
- Academic advisement, academic support and other student support services will be delivered both in-person and remotely. Appointments will be required for in-person services, and a variety of new tools and flexible schedules will provide the ability to deliver additional remote services and expand accessibility to services.
- Occupancy in on-campus housing will be limited to one student per bedroom. With the exception of immediate family members, no outside visitors will be allowed in residential housing areas. Three apartments will be reserved for quarantine accommodations in the case of students testing positive for the virus. Substantial changes are being made to the move-in process and will be communicated directly to students prior to their arrival.
- The College has been working closely with the companies it contracts with for dining services (American Dining Creations) and bookstore services (Barnes & Noble), and detailed protocols are in place with both companies.
- The College is taking proactive steps to ensure that facilities are as clean, sanitized, and safe as possible. This includes acrylic barriers in high traffic offices, hand sanitizing stations, removal of or reduced occupancy for waiting areas, specialized training for custodial staff in NYSDOH, CDC, and EPA protocols for cleaning, and adjusting staff schedules to better cover high use times.
Our buildings and classrooms may look different this fall, but our dedication to our students’ success remains a top priority. As we move forward, be assured that Herkimer College will be guided by two commitments—offering an excellent education to each and every student and providing for the health and well-being of everyone in our campus community.
We will continue to communicate with you as plans evolve. In addition to checking your college email regularly, we recommend you visit http://www.herkimer.edu/coronavirus often for updates and resources.
Cathleen C. McColgin, Ph.D.
For the most up-to-date information on Herkimer College's response to COVID-19, please go to herkimer.edu/coronavirus.