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Cabrini News

Additional information on the fall 2020 semester plan (June 30, 2020 update)

Posted on 6/30/2020 12:04:00 PM

Dear Cavalier community,

As communities around the nation and world begin to emerge from the strictest of COVID-19 mitigation measures, Cabrini also is preparing to safely reopen campus.

The COVID-19 Task Force and institution’s senior leadership have been monitoring the evolving pandemic situation and collaboratively assessing the options for the reopening of campus and for the fall 2020 semester.

Any reopening plan requires the prioritization of the health and wellness of all members of the Cabrini community, with special thought to at-risk populations, and adherence to best practices and guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local health officials.

We’ve considered a host of possibilities, from a fully online modality to limited on-campus residents to fully returning to in-person instruction, and while every option has strengths and weaknesses, we have arrived at an initial plan that we feel carries forward the most strengths, provides solutions for potential drawbacks, and captures the spirit of the feedback and addresses the requests we heard from our community members.

While there are few certainties with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to consider that COVID-19 mitigation measures will continue to evolve and adapt as the situation warrants, and subsequently have crafted this plan to include flexibility and the ability to adapt.

Key points
As was previously communicated, Cabrini’s approach to fall 2020 has the following key points:

  • On-campus instruction will resume on August 31, to be conducted with a mix of in-person, hyflex, and remote modalities and with intentional safeguards and mitigation measures in place.
  • Following the Thanksgiving break (November 25-29), classes and finals will be conducted in an online-only modality. To accommodate this modified schedule, the fall 2020 academic calendar has been adjusted: We will honor Labor Day (September 7) as a federal holiday (classes will not be held and the offices will close), but classes will be held and offices will remain open during the originally scheduled Fall Break (October 12) and Cabrini Day (November 10). Classes will end on December 11 instead of December 14, and finals will take place in an online format December 14-16.
  • Residence halls will open for Move-In prior to the semester start, with modifications for mitigation measures.

Timeline for employees returning to work
While a streamlined crew of essential employees have continued to work onsite throughout the mitigation measures, more employees will require campus access as we near the fall semester. Employees should take a staggered approach for returning to work, with the full list of essential employees returning first.

Although Delaware County entered the green phase (as per Governor Tom Wolf’s phased reopening plan) on June 26, we are encouraging the continuation of the current working model (campus access granted to essential employees only, others working from home where possible) and expect to begin employees’ staggered returns to campus on Tuesday, July 7.

Additional communications about timing for returning to work will be communicated through your area’s leadership. While we expect employees to begin returning to campus as early as July 7, the intention is to stagger starts over approximately two weeks, with campus access granted to all employees by July 20—approximately two weeks prior to the first students arriving on campus. Please route any requests for campus access through your area’s leadership, who can incorporate that to be considered as return-to-work timing is further planned.

As departments return to campus, those that are able to do so are encouraged to stagger staffing, continue with work from home arrangements, and/or offset arrival and departures. Please check with your supervisor for more information. Alternative schedules and alternate work options should be coordinated through Human Resources. More information on that process will be forthcoming.

Course modality and academic calendar updates
Cabrini plans to resume on-campus instruction on August 31, to be conducted with a mix of in-person, hyflex, and remote modalities and with intentional safeguards and mitigation measures that follow the best practices and guidelines from the CDC.

Classes of 24 or more students will be offered as online or in a hyflex modality, in which the class is divided into groups that alternate in-person attendance and attendance via synchronous livestream. Classes conducted in person will be designated a classroom/meeting space that can accommodate appropriate social distancing.

The scheduling system will be updated with designated course modalities, so students can create a schedule that accommodates their preferred learning modality.

Following the Thanksgiving break, classes and finals will be conducted in an online-only modality. To accommodate this modified schedule, the fall 2020 academic calendar has been adjusted: Classes will not be held on Labor Day (September 7), but will be held during the originally scheduled Fall Break (October 12) and Cabrini Day (November 10). Classes will end on December 11, and finals will take place in an online format December 14-16.

Course instruction will have the flexibility to quickly change to an online-only modality, should such a contingency become necessary at any point.

Use of face masks
Anyone on campus is required to wear a mask that covers the mouth and nose in all classrooms, public shared spaces on campus, and in areas where social distancing cannot be observed. In support of this initiative, one adjustable, reusable, washable cloth face mask will be distributed to full-time employees and students, to be added to each individual’s personal supply of face masks.

Lecturing professors will be provided clear face shields, to address audibility and accessibility concerns as well as audio quality concerns for the livestreamed counterpart to class attendance in the hyflex modality.

Testing and monitoring
Cabrini is exploring a HIPAA-compliant system through which employees and students will be assessed for symptoms indicative of COVID-19 infection. More information on this will be forthcoming.

Residence halls
Residence halls will open for Move-In prior to the semester start as previously scheduled, with modifications for mitigation measures. Residence halls, Holy Spirit Library, and dining services will remain open after the Thanksgiving break to provide options for students when classes change to an all-online modality.

Residence halls will be open with normal occupancy, with limitations of no more than two students per room. Roommates will function like a family unit with regard to social distancing; for example, face masks do not need to be worn within your residence hall room, but must be worn in hallways and common spaces.

Move-In and Visitors
To accommodate the required social distancing and allow for swifter and more efficient access on Move-In, Cabrini will be utilizing an option in which resident students can drop off belongings a full two weeks prior to Move-In.

Cabrini will extend its no visitor policy in residence halls (external and from other residence halls) by one week, to September 21, to encourage roommates to discuss comfort levels and expectations surrounding guests and to allow everyone to get comfortable with the guidelines in place. Throughout the semester, visits by family members in the halls will be limited to assistance with pick up and drop off of items only. All visitors should comply with social distancing and public health guidelines in place at the time.

We are currently identifying appropriate spaces where people can comfortably socialize while adhering to social distancing and public health guidelines. Those spaces will be widely shared and promoted to encourage safe socially distanced gatherings.

Additional information and full details on Move-In and the robust precautions being put in place to protect students living on campus will be forthcoming.

Dining services
Dining services will be available throughout the fall 2020 semester with strict mitigation and enhanced safeguards in place. For example, seating will be reduced and repositioned to meet social distancing requirements. Signage will indicate appropriate social distancing guidelines and designated flow of foot traffic. All stations will be attended by Sodexo personnel, and we are expanding our single-use, disposable item options. We will also be increasing the take-out and Grab and Go options.

More information and specifics on dining options will be forthcoming.

Cleaning procedures and other safeguards
Enhanced cleaning and sanitation efforts will continue through the arrival of employees and students. The CSI staff has been conducting appropriate disinfecting procedures throughout campus at increased frequencies. High-touch areas such as entryways, exits, and public bathrooms will be cleaned at minimum three times per day. Hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout buildings in high-traffic areas for use as needed. Additional signage, floor markings to support appropriate social distancing, and acrylic shields at counter service desks have also been installed to promote best practices and adherence to guidelines.

Classrooms will be thoroughly disinfected to start each day, and cleaning materials will be provided for sanitizing throughout the day and between uses.

Following the enhanced disinfecting that occurs prior to Move-In, the cleaning of private spaces within the residence halls (rooms and bathrooms) will be the responsibility of the residents. Residents will also be responsible for cleaning up after themselves in common areas (kitchens, laundry facilities, etc.). Cleaning materials will be provided for this purpose.

Common areas will be commercially disinfected twice per day by CSI staff.

Other meetings/gatherings
Gatherings and meetings should be conducted virtually whenever possible. Extracurricular activities and events that cannot be conducted virtually should follow social distancing guidelines.

Resources and guidelines will be provided regarding the use of on-campus spaces. For example, on-campus buildings (like Holy Spirit Library and dining areas) will host lower capacities at one time to maintain compliance with health guidelines and social distancing mandates. 

Large gatherings and events will continue to be significantly decreased through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, and must adhere to the requirements that correspond to the appropriate phase of Governor Wolf’s reopening plan (i.e., no more than 250 people in the green phase, social distancing measures and face masks in place, etc.).

Cabrini will be boosting the WiFi signal throughout campus and is researching the availability of computer labs, open classrooms, etc. to provide break areas, study lounges, and options to attend remote or hyflex classes that adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Cabrini will not host on-campus large events to the external public in the fall 2020 semester.

Fall 2020 will be a semester unlike any other. Nearly everything will feel different—will be different. Even the tiniest details must reflect considerations and adhere to appropriate guidelines. But these adaptations are necessary to protect each other, to protect the public, and to protect ourselves.

More information on important considerations will be forthcoming as solutions are assessed and finalized. We recognize fall 2020 will require solutions and guidelines for:

  • contact tracing
  • mandatory education on new procedures and guidelines
  • procedures and contingency plans for possible infection or exposure
  • and much, much more

We will continue to work within the Cabrini community and externally to ensure the health and safety of our community members as we further detail our plans. These unprecedented times have called for us to do more, to work together as a community to ensure safe and appropriate delivery of the robust Cabrini experience—to find untraditional ways to engage in a transformational Education of the Heart.

As the fall semester comes into focus, we remain dedicated to our community members. We remain dedicated to you.

Full guidance for returning to campus will be provided in the coming weeks.

I look forward to seeing you back on campus as we forge a “new normal” together.

In the Cavalier spirit,

Donald B. Taylor signature

Donald B. Taylor, PhD
Cabrini President 

See President Taylor's June 22 update