Gratitude, Campus Operations, and the Path Ahead

President Bergman sent the message below to students, faculty, staff, and parents on Thursday, November 19.
Posted on November 19th, 2020 by

Gusties, soon we will pause for Thanksgiving break. If only for a few days, we will step away from our virtual meetings, unplug from Moodle and Zoom, and catch our breath. And though Thanksgiving will look different this year, it still calls us to take stock of all those people and things for which we are grateful. 

As we give thanks, I especially want to acknowledge those of you who have been directly impacted by COVID-19. Whether you have been sick, spent time in quarantine, or were impacted by the illness or loss of a loved one, please know that my thoughts are with you.

When I reflect on the day-to-day business–and busyness–of partnering with our faculty and staff leaders to navigate the College through this challenging time, I find myself appreciating the little things that our community does right. Things that unfortunately, we sometimes take for granted. Last week, for instance, the staff from Nicollet County Public Health and Vault Health made a special point of noting how polite and respectful Gustavus students and staff were throughout our mass testing event on campus. Our positivity rate of only 1.5 percent from the event indicates that our community took our COVID-19 protocols seriously this fall, and when people were exposed to the virus, we reported symptoms, got tested, and shared our contacts so we could accurately contact trace and provide case management services. For all of this and so much more, I am incredibly grateful for each of you. 

Last night, Governor Tim Walz issued new statewide guidance to help slow the widespread transmission of COVID-19 in Minnesota. We have been asked once more to answer the call for the good of our campus as well as our local and state communities. We must continue to commit to following public health guidelines. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is asking what we have requested of students all along: make the decision to leave or stay on campus, and commit to that decision for the remainder of the semester without traveling back and forth. As hospital beds continue to fill, we must all make additional sacrifices to protect the most vulnerable among us and those who keep them safe — our first responders, doctors and nurses, and childcare workers. Wherever you are in the coming days, please limit your contacts to those who you live with. We all play a role in helping mitigate the worst effects of this continuing public health crisis.

Though Gustavus already had many of the new measures in place, last night’s announcement of the statewide dial back plan will prompt a few changes on campus, including the closure of Lund Center and reduced hours for other campus buildings. As we transition to online course delivery on Monday, November 23, please carefully review the information below for reminders and updates about campus operations for the remainder of the semester. 

Gusties, this semester has been unlike any other in the College’s history. As we finish over the next three weeks, I know that we will continue to face our challenges with grace, perseverance, and goodwill. We have asked a lot of you, and you have responded time and again. Most meaningful to me is how we have navigated this new world together. For that I am truly grateful.

Yours in community,

President Bergman


Choosing to Leave or Stay On Campus
All students have the choice to live on campus and make use of the Dining Service, wireless network, and academic spaces for the remainder of the semester. That being said, in accordance with MDH guidance, students are asked to either stay on campus for the rest of the semester including Thanksgiving break, or leave and remain away from campus for the rest of the semester. We must limit travel back and forth from campus, as it increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission both on campus and in your home communities.

For students remaining on campus for Thanksgiving, the Dining Service is planning to provide a special Thanksgiving meal following COVID-19 safety and social distancing guidelines.

Lund Center Operations and Athletics
In accordance with new state guidelines about the use of gyms and wellness facilities, Lund Center and the Swanson Tennis Center will be closed from Friday, November 20 at 8 p.m. through Sunday, January 3. This represents a change from the College’s previous policy, which would have allowed for individual student workouts if scheduled in advance. 

The last day of intercollegiate athletics practices is Friday, November 20. After that time, there will be no organized team activities, including group workouts or captains’ practices, through the Winter Break.

Fine Arts, Labs, and Student Employment
With limited exceptions approved by the Office of the Provost, all in-person fine arts and laboratory activities will end for the rest of the semester on Friday, November 20. If you have questions about an in-person student/faculty collaborative research, scholarship, or creativity project, please reach out to Sarah Bridges for approval. Activities such as nursing clinicals, student teaching, and on- and off-campus student employment will continue on a case-by-case basis as determined by department chairs and student employment supervisors.

Online Course Delivery and Academic Calendar
Online course delivery will begin on Monday, November 23 and continue throughout the remainder of fall semester. January Term is scheduled to begin on Monday, January 4 with most classes being delivered virtually for the first week before continuing in their planned mode of instruction (in-person, hybrid, or online). The full academic calendar is available online.

Key dates:
Nov. 24-27: Thanksgiving break (no classes)
Dec. 9: Final day of class
Dec. 10: Reading day
Dec. 11, 14, 15: Final exam period
Dec. 15: End of fall semester
Dec. 15-Jan. 3: Winter Break
Jan. 4-26: January Term

Building and Service Hours
With fewer students and employees on campus, and in accordance with updated public health guidance, building hours have been adjusted. General building hours are now 7:30 a.m. – 10 p.m., with the following exceptions:

Lund Center: closed
Market Place: hours vary; see the Dining Service website for hours through Nov. 30.
Post Office: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., weekdays
Book Mark:  9 a.m. – 3 p.m., weekdays

Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library: Nov. 23-24, 8 a.m – 4:45 p.m.; Nov. 25-29, closed. Visit the library website for hours for the rest of the semester. 

The College will continue normal operations during this time and support services will remain available to all students. Those who are remaining on campus can continue to eat in the Evelyn Young Dining Room, the Jackson Campus Center banquet rooms, or take their food to go.

Gustavus “Lay Low” Period Continues
For now, the College will continue to follow its “Lay Low” plan. All students, faculty, and staff should continue to actively limit close contact with others for the remainder of the semester. Additional COVID-19 safety measures may also be implemented in response to state, local, and campus COVID-19 numbers and guidance.

 

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