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VandenBosch: Chancellor Blank’s additional health and safety restrictions

This e-mail was sent to all CALS faculty and staff on 9/9/2020.

Dear CALS employees,

On Labor Day, Chancellor Blank directed undergraduate students to refrain from all but essential activities, in response to a concerning increase in positive COVID-19 cases traced to social activities among students.

The following are key elements of her message:

  • Face coverings are required everywhere on campus –  indoors and out – unless you have an accommodation. While we have had a requirement for face coverings indoors, we are now requiring face coverings outdoors as well unless you are engaging in individual exercise, such as running or walking.
  • Classes continue in their current modality (in person courses continue to meet in person).
  • For instructors who have accepted an undergraduate student for independent study credit, you are expected to honor that commitment, although the student may complete the independent study either in person, remotely or through a hybrid approach.
  • The VCRGE has determined that undergraduate students should not be part of study teams working directly with human subjects until Sept. 21, 2020. Undergraduate students involved in other research activities that do not include face-to-face human subjects research interactions are permitted to continue as one of the essential activities identified by Chancellor Blank.
  • Employees and students should not attend gatherings of any type other than classes and should delay all non-essential travel.
  • Undergraduate students were further directed to “severely limit” their in-person interaction in the coming weeks. This was accompanied by closings (e.g., RecWell  indoor facilities), cancellations of in-person undergraduate events and student organization activities, and other restrictions (e.g., Union dining facilities to be carry-out only).

Based on the chancellor’s statement, there is no evidence of virus transmission through academic activities. We want to continue the positive results of our academic planning and have those same good outcomes result from all aspects of university life.

I know how much effort you have put forward to plan for a safe return to campus for students  and I appreciate your contributions. As you have heard me say before, I encourage all of us to practice patience. These are new experiences for everyone, and we need to take care of each other.

Be well,

Kate VandenBosch