I wish you could see campus right now. Everywhere I look, I see activity and energy as our community prepares for you to arrive and begin a new year. Dining services managers, professors, resident directors, paint crews, community life professionals, and so many other areas – we’re all energetically planning how to help this year be a special one in your life. We’re getting ready for you to thrive.
The health and well-being of our community is obviously a critical component to a thriving community. So, as you can imagine, we have been diligently and prayerfully making preparations for a strong year ahead in light of COVID-19. The COVID-19 task force has been carefully reviewing research findings, data trends, guidance by health officials, state requirements, and practices at other colleges in order to make plans for the kind of year in which our students can flourish in their learning, well-being, and success.
Here are some important updates for your fall:
What precautions is ENC planning for the 2021-2022 year?
Beginning Monday, August 30, ENC will be deploying a four-status model of COVID-19 precautions:
- GREEN (limited precautions)
- YELLOW (moderate precautions)
- ORANGE (substantive precautions)
- RED (campus closure)
ENC leadership will routinely review these statuses in light of trends, new research, and our community health.
What is the plan for the fall?
At this time, we plan on beginning fall semester at the YELLOW risk level.
- We will initially have moderate precautions in place. More details on these precautions below.
- We will assess initial community health through onboard testing for all students.
- We will review our situation within two weeks, then determining if we can shift to GREEN, stay at YELLOW, or need to move to ORANGE.
- We – and I mean every member of the ENC community – will look out for one another, committing as #LionsNation to care for our individual health, our neighbor’s health, and our community’s health. This is an expression of love.
What precautions come with YELLOW stage?
Although more detailed information will be communicated as we begin the semester, here are some key points from the YELLOW risk level:
1. MASKS: All students, faculty and staff, and guests will be required to wear masks in indoor public spaces. This requirement includes classrooms, lounges, and the library, but does not include residence hall spaces (except for some lobbies and when groups larger than five have gathered).
2. CLASSES: Classes will be primarily in person and in regular meeting spaces.
3. CHAPEL: We plan to hold chapel, with seating at 75% capacity.
4. DINING: The cafeteria will be open with both dine-in and take-out options, and additional precautions will be in place around food service.
5. EVENTS/ACTIVITIES: Social gatherings will be permitted. Outdoor activities are strongly recommended. Indoor activities will be at 75% capacity and with mask requirements.
6. TESTING: COVID-19 testing will be conducted regularly on campus for both vaccinated (2x each month) and non-vaccinated students (weekly). Additional testing may be required in certain circumstances.
7. QUARANTINE: Only non-vaccinated students will be required to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact of a positive case.*
8. ISOLATION: Vaccinated and non-vaccinated students will be required to enter isolation if positive for COVID-19.*
* Required by the State of Massachusetts
I acknowledge that some of you may find this information disappointing – I’m sure we all had hoped for a semester where we could leave COVID-19 in the rear-view mirror. Still, with moderate precautions in place at the start of the semester and with wise community decisions to protect one another, I believe that a truly wonderful semester can be ahead for us.
What can you do to prepare?
Remember how I mentioned that campus is full of energy and life at your arrival this fall? It’s true. We’re preparing for you! Here are a few ways you could prepare for a strong semester ahead:
1. Finalize your vaccination plan. We believe getting fully vaccinated is in the best interest for most students and for the broader ENC community. Whether you plan to be fully vaccinated or plan to submit exemption paperwork, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
2. Be thoughtful with your practices before arriving to campus. For example, wearing a mask in public indoor settings or avoiding large gatherings could help us start well this fall.
3. Take a PCR test 3-4 days ahead of your arrival to ENC (stay home if positive and contact Health Services).
4. Pray for ENC leadership, faculty, staff, and your fellow students. We’re in this together.
5. Be excited for all the amazing experiences ahead for you this year! COVID-19 precautions are steps we’re taking to ensure that every student is able to enjoy as strong of an experience as possible.
I can’t wait to meet each of you in just a few weeks and learn, grow, and serve together.
Ian Slater, PhD
Vice President for Student Development
Title IX Coordinator
Eastern Nazarene College
23 East Elm Avenue, Quincy, MA 02170