Dear ENC Community:
With much gratitude to ENC’s COVID Response Team, I am pleased to provide this update about our plans for the spring semester.
Our plan is to begin the spring semester as previously scheduled and to provide in-person instruction for our students.
Both new and returning traditional students may check in for the semester beginning Monday, January 10th. Classes begin on Wednesday, January 12th. All traditional undergraduate students – both residential and commuters – are expected to check in between January 10th-12th to be tested in person ahead of the start of classes.
Using the COVID precaution stages we developed for the 2021-22 academic year (ENC Precaution Stages and Restrictions), ENC will open the spring 2022 semester primarily with “Stage Yellow” precautions. These precautions will remain in place until at least Monday, January 24th at which point we will re-evaluate the campus and community COVID situation and our precaution level.
Our precautions for reopening include the following:
- Vaccinations: All students (both traditional undergraduate and adult studies) are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID or to receive a medical or religious exemption. Additionally, we strongly urge all students to receive their COVID booster as soon as they are able to do so.
- Onboard Testing: All traditional undergraduate students – both residential and commuters – are required to participate in COVID testing as part of the spring onboarding process. This is anticipated to be one test upon arrival to campus and a second test 7-10 days after arrival. A separate email to students will provide details on the testing process, including how to select appointments.
- Masks: All students, faculty, staff and campus visitors must be fully masked in indoor common spaces. Masks are not required when actively eating or drinking, for students in their personal residence hall room, or for employees in their private work space/office.
- Surveillance and Diagnostic Testing: Students who are not fully vaccinated or boosted (if eligible) will be required to participate in surveillance testing throughout the spring semester. Students who are symptomatic or who are identified as a close contact may also be required to take a COVID test through the ENC Testing Center. ENC employees are eligible to receive COVID tests through the College and will receive further guidance from the Office of Human Resources on how to access those tests.
- Classes: Classes will primarily meet in classrooms, with seating charts and spacing required. When possible, windows will be opened to increase air flow in the space, and masks will be required for all. Students who are unable to attend class due to quarantine, isolation or other extenuating circumstances related to the pandemic can anticipate accommodation by their faculty members; they should reach out to their faculty members to discuss the appropriate means of accessing course content.
- Gatherings and Meetings: All meetings, events and gatherings (except classes) that involve five or more persons will be held virtually.
- Chapel: Chapels on January 12th & 19th will be held virtually only.
- Athletic Competitions: Athletic contests and practices will be held, but spectators will not be permitted at this time.
- Meals: Meals will be served in the cafeteria, but with seating capacity limited to 50% of normal capacity. Dining hours will be extended and additional seating options will be provided to accommodate reduced capacity in the cafeteria. Take-out options will be provided and encouraged.
- Residence Hall Restrictions: With the exception of new student move-in only, external guests are not permitted in the residence halls at this stage. Open Hall Hours will also be reduced for students visiting other residence hall areas.
Additionally, we are urging, but not requiring the following:
- Boosters: We are urging eligible employees and students to receive a COVID booster.
- Pre-Arrival Testing: Current guidelines for colleges and universities require us to place students who test positive for COVID into isolation, and for students who are identified as close contacts to enter quarantine. We encourage students to get a COVID test a few days ahead of their arrival to campus, as this may permit students to enter isolation at home rather than on campus.
Our Adult and Graduate (AGS) programs have also resumed primarily classroom instruction, but we recognize that there will be circumstances in which those students need accommodation as they deal with challenges related to the pandemic. Like the students in our traditional program, please be assured that faculty will be ready to provide reasonable accommodations to allow you to make progress in your courses.
ENC’s COVID Response Team will be closely monitoring COVID trends, campus needs, and new data to determine if any adjustments to these protocols are in order. For updates, please monitor enc.edu/covid and ENC email. For questions related to vaccinations or testing, please contact HealthServices@enc.edu. For general questions, please contact the co-chairs of the COVID Response Team, Dr. Bill McCoy (William.McCoy@enc.edu) or Dr. Ian Slater (Ian.Slater@enc.edu).
It will be incumbent upon all of us to exercise continued diligence in making wise personal decisions. Good practices such as frequent hand washing, social distancing, the immediate reporting of any symptoms to ENC’s Health Services, and masking in indoor settings even when off-campus will help protect all of us from infection. In accordance with the latest research, we encourage our community to use N95 masks, which will be provided to both students and employees, or to double-mask for the greatest protection.
Our desire is to be a community that provides a caring, Christ-centered transformational education for our students, and to do so in a way that protects the health and safety of the community. That balance is admittedly not an easy one to strike in these complex and uncertain times, and we ask for your patience and understanding as we strive to navigate these challenges faithfully and wisely.
In all of this, the Lord being our helper, I pledge to you that our administration, faculty, and staff stand ready to serve our students and one another in every way possible. There will almost certainly be disruptions and detours over these coming weeks, it seems likely that some among us will experience the symptoms of COVID, and we are all dealing with some level of pandemic fatigue. While the challenges of this ongoing public health crisis are real, they also present us with an opportunity to shine – as people of love, mercy, patience, compassion and grace. Thank you in advance for your resilience and sacrifice, and may God bless and guide us all in the semester to come.
Jack Connell, Ed.D, D.Min.
Eastern Nazarene College