Wrapping Up 2020 at Gustavus

President Bergman sent this message to students, faculty, and staff on Tuesday, December 8.
Posted on December 8th, 2020 by

This week, students and faculty are finishing classes after a long semester of innovative learning, and staff are beginning to wrap up projects in anticipation of our upcoming winter break. Following final exams, submission of grades, and a few more meetings, each of us will be able to step back from our day-to-day routine and take advantage of a much-needed opportunity to unplug.

President Rebecca M. Bergman

I want to offer my thanks and congratulations to all of you. We have made it, in the face of persistent uncertainty and constant change, to the end of the fall semester. In so many ways, our community has gone the extra mile to help ensure safety and wellbeing with our signature Gustie spirit. As we look ahead to the spring and the promise of a COVID-19 vaccine that is on the horizon, we must continue to take care of one another and practice good public health behaviors.

I also want to share my thoughts and condolences with those who have been personally impacted by COVID-19. Whether you have faced this illness yourself, helped someone close to you, or lost a loved one, please know that my thoughts and those of your fellow students, faculty, and staff are with you.

Please see below for a few important reminders as we head into winter break and prepare for January Term and the spring semester. First, however, I want to highlight some key metrics and accomplishments for our community this fall.

  • Since August 30, Gustavus community members have spent 13,305,674 minutes (and counting) in Zoom video calls and created over 36,000 Google Meet and Zoom meetings. Wow! Thank you for the ways that each of you have innovated in teaching, learning, and working during this unusual semester.
  • We were able to manage 195 positive COVID-19 cases along with 700 students, faculty, and staff who quarantined on- and off-campus with support from a Gustavus case manager. While this may seem like a large number, it indicates that members of our community reported their symptoms, shared their contacts, and followed isolation/quarantine guidelines to help slow the spread. I am especially pleased that we did not see a spike in cases until a corresponding increase in the state of Minnesota, and that members of our community have taken our “Lay Low” regulations seriously and quickly stopped the upward trend.
  • Our November 13 and December 3 mass testing positivity rates of only 1.5% further illustrate how our students, faculty, and staff took COVID-19 safety measures seriously. Other institutions reported positivity rates of between 7-11 percent for similar events.
  • The Gustavus Board of Trustees passed a unanimous resolution on Racial Justice and Inclusion, we are expanding the Center for Inclusive Excellence, the Counseling Center hired two new counselors with a focus on supporting BIPOC students, and planning is underway to provide diversity, equity, and inclusion education for all members of the Gustavus community.
  • The Nobel Hall of Science expansion and renovation project is now complete. The upgraded 177,300-square-foot building celebrates the liberal arts by literally connecting the sciences with fine arts.
  • Our admission team has welcomed a record 531 prospective students with in-person visits (following Gustavus COVID-19 guidelines) this fall in addition to hosting virtual visit days to introduce future Gusties to our community.

Give to Gustavus Day brought in a record-setting $544,285 for the Gustavus Fund in October as alumni, parents, employees, and friends stepped up to support the College during these challenging times.

Gusties, even amidst uncertainty and change, we have found ways to move forward together, and this says a lot about the strength of our community. Please accept my deepest gratitude for all the ways that you have leaned in over the course of this difficult semester. Now, let us finish strong, have a restful and healthy winter break, and come back rejuvenated and ready to continue our good work in January and the spring semester.

Yours in community,

President Bergman


Resources for Final Exam Period
Gustavus students are encouraged to utilize resources from the Academic Support Center, Counseling Center, and Gustavus Technology Services throughout the remainder of the semester and final exam period. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to these resources or the Dean of Students Office if you need support during this stressful time.

Staying Safe Over Break
Wherever you will be, all members of the community are encouraged to continue to “lay low” over winter break. Please wear a mask, keep your close contacts to only those who you live with, and do not participate in high-risk activities such as going to large social events.

COVID-19 Testing Opportunities
The Gustavus Health Service has curated a list of testing resources in the Saint Peter/Mankato area. If you will be elsewhere in Minnesota and need a test, you may request a free saliva test via Vault Health or explore other testing options in the state. Members of the community who will be outside of Minnesota are encouraged to research testing opportunities in their local community.

Building and Service Hours
During the week of December 15-22, Gustavus buildings except residence halls and the Jackson Campus Center will close at 5 p.m. Campus buildings will be closed from Wednesday, Dec. 23 through Monday, January 4 with the exception of Jackson Campus Center and residence halls. Remaining on-campus students will continue to receive support from Dining Service, Campus Safety, Residential Life, the Dean of Students office, and the COVID-19 case managers as necessary.

January Term
January Term will begin on Monday, January 4 and most courses will be delivered virtually for the first week of the term due to the increased COVID-19 risk of students being away and then coming back. Courses that have a disciplinary need to meet in-person from January 4 through 8 have been granted an exception and students will be hearing from their faculty if their course will be meeting in-person during the first week of January Term. Beginning on January 11, we expect that courses will be delivered in online, hybrid, and in-person formats as indicated by the instructor. Although the specific details of our dial back plan will be governed by current campus and regional conditions, you can anticipate that additional COVID-19 precautions will be in place, similar to our current “Lay Low” guidelines. Please note: Students who are planning to live on-campus in January (because they are taking an in-person, hybrid, or online course or have approval to live on campus) should plan to move back to campus on Sunday, January 3 so they can “lay low” on campus for the first week of classes.

Spring Semester
Spring semester will begin on Monday, February 1. Most courses will be delivered virtually for the first two weeks of the term due to the increased COVID-19 risk of students being away and then coming back. Courses that have a disciplinary need to meet in-person from February 1 through 12 will be granted an exception and students will be hearing from their faculty if their course will be meeting in-person during the first two weeks of spring semester. Following the first two weeks of the semester, courses will be delivered in online, hybrid, and in-person formats as indicated by the instructor. As a reminder, the academic calendar for spring semester has been modified and is available online (look under 2020-21). Move-in for students who will be returning to campus for the spring semester is Sunday, January 31.

Commencement
The Class of 2021 Commencement ceremony has been set for Saturday, May 15. Details will follow in a separate communication in early January.

 

Comments are closed.