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Coronavirus Updates

Return to Campus Task Force

The President has appointed a campus-wide Task Force to plan all of the necessary changes to our operations and use of facilities in order to support a safe return for the start of classes on August 31. In all of its preparatory work, the College will be guided by New York State’s program for reopening and by the knowledge and advice of public health authorities.

  • Task Force Communication Announcement | May 29, 2020

    Dear Members of the Manhattan College Community:

    Last week, we communicated to you that the Return to Campus Task Force met to review the work of the committees and the potential plans, issues and numerous details, while taking into consideration the community’s input and concerns and addressing the many tasks involved with this safe return. This week, the working groups have moved forward with finalizing their recommendations in preparation for the report phase, as the deadline is quickly approaching.

    The Task Force is charged with identifying all of the issues that need to be addressed before our eventual return to campus. Comprised of three Planning Committees — Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Management, Policy, Compliance, and Campus Operations — as well as working groups, each Planning Committee includes representation from faculty, administrators, staff and students.

    It is time to gather all of the readiness elements identified so far by the Task Force Planning Committees and begin to organize them in a cohesive way into a Roadmap for Return to Campus that will serve the campus community moving forward. Many of these elements specify additional work that will continue by both Task Force members and additional members of the community throughout the summer.  

    The elements will be organized in a topical framework/outline that will serve as a foundation for: 1) the Roadmap; 2) the Return to Campus Website; and 3) the Summer Working Groups that will continue to problem-solve in the coming weeks. The organization will be aimed at providing convenient, succinct information for specific populations who plan to return to campus and also for those who cannot return to campus for COVID-19 related or other reasons but do plan to participate in classes, work and other campus activities.

    Below is a snapshot of the Planning Committee reports for this week, highlighting several major action items:

    Academic Affairs

    Teaching, Student Learning, Support & Success, and Global Engagement

    • The Teaching Working Group developed draft key principles and needs that were used to create a viable list of possible instructional modes that address the unique needs of teaching in the fall, including the ability to teach students in the same section who are inside and outside the classroom. Offering a range of options to fit student and instructor needs is one of the primary principles developed. Plans for faculty training with enhanced remote teaching continue to evolve, with training being scheduled by chairs and available throughout the next two months to fit faculty preferences. The training will include material for various levels of experience and pedagogies.

    • The Student Support & Success Working Group (including career development, advising, accommodations, tutoring, supplemental instruction, etc.) is planning for the support for all populations under the special conditions of our return to campus.  The working group proposes to leverage many of the existing online services that have been evolving for some time but is also developing and highlighting face-to-face experiences that can be organized in a safe manner and add value to students on campus. Based on the roadmap organization, some of the readiness elements from this area may be referred to or located for audience convenience, e.g. veteran support services may be located or referred to within a section for veterans.

    • The Global Engagement Working Group has identified many actionable readiness elements needed to resume international activities as soon as it is safe to do so. Many aspects of international programming have been affected by the pandemic, and specific protocols and guidance needs to be developed for the range of programs, including international degree-seeking students who are currently being recruited, as well as in-house study abroad programs, exchanges and outgoing extracurricular noncredit programs. The working group has identified the need to modify and augment existing protocols that will give a clear indication that a program is ready to start or resume. The College aims to provide or resume the full range of offerings as soon as conditions permit for each activity.

    Student Affairs

    Residence Life & Residence Hall Operations, Student Leadership & Co-Curricular Programming and Food Service Operations & Dining Venues

    • The Residence Life and Residence Hall Operations subcommittee identified a plan for move-in for all returning and first-year students during a 14-day period. Integral to this plan will be the need to prioritize the return students who may need to arrive earlier (for example international students and possibly fall student-athletes). The plans for move-in will evolve throughout the summer, but important to this plan during COVID 19 will be accommodating no more than 200 students per day to return, allowing students only one helper, and scheduling based on reserving elevators and other logistics. This subcommittee also has identified up to 20 individual occupancy rooms for students who may need to quarantine.

    • The Student Leadership and Co-curricular Programming identified the need to engage students throughout the summer in the development of a “social compact” that frames expectations (e.g., testing, social distancing, modification of of events) as a shared responsibility based on respect and dignity for all members of the community. The subcommittee also advanced plans for events and programs, both virtually and in person. The committee is recommending both a survey and town hall with the student body to further develop these ideas.

    • Food Service and Dining Venues developed a plan to address the need for contactless payment and contactless pick up. It is the expectation that most food service venues will be grab-and-go to start. The group also advanced a plan for food service delivery for students that have to self-quarantine in the residence halls.  Finally the committee recommends strategies for reducing lines and backup at  queuing through staggered scheduling of meal times.

    • The Athletics Working Group has steadily advanced the planning for the return of athletics in the fall. Topics have included facilities, return of staff to campus, return of student-athletes, competition operations, external support staff, academic support, and return of spectators and fans. Significant time has been spent around the evolving health and safety standards needed for student-athletes (and those who care for them) to return to practice and competition. In addition, our athletic administration has been involved in conversations with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) that has primarily focused on the return to competition for fall sports. These plans include a possible return to conference play by Labor Day, fall competition ending in the third week of October, and conference championships by the end of October.

    Management, Policy, Compliance, and Campus Operations

    Facilities, Health Services, Operations and Compliance, Employee Affairs and Communications & Constituent Relations

    • The Employee Affairs Working Group is compiling and analyzing the data derived from the Business Continuity Plan surveys. While the survey was not intended to address each employee’s circumstance, it will be instrumental in building a framework for a return to campus and did highlight issues and concerns of faculty, staff and administrators about making that return as safe as possible.

    • The Health Working Group continues to identify health partners with whom the College will contract to provide testing and other supplemental COVID-19 response tools and resources. Training continues for members of the College community who will be responsible for contact tracing. To date, we currently have seven individuals trained, with a goal of 20 before classes resume on August 31.

    • The Facilities Working Group, together with members of other working groups, continues to audit space on campus to gather data for the return of faculty, staff and students to campus, including open spaces, elevators, hallways, entryways and exits. Facilities also reviewed the ventilation, filtration and air distribution systems, and disinfection operations to assess if any changes or resources were required prior to a return to campus.

    • The Campus Operations Group has finalized its proposal for the Campus Ambassador program, which will be included in the final report of the Task Force. Again, that program is aimed at helping to foster “One Manhattan” and reemphasize the guiding principles underscoring our return to campus. Campus Operations has also compiled a list of policies, protocols and recommendations that will need to be addressed during the summer and as we live, work and learn on campus in the fall and spring.

    • The Communications/Constituency Relations Working Group is, in addition to compiling information for and designing the return to campus website and emails,  compiling the specific contact information and communications plan for members of constituency categories, including but not limited to: local, city and regional businesses and vendors; press; elected officials and governmental agencies; religious congregations; career, education and community service partners; Lasallian partners; and higher education partners.

    There are many specifics and solutions that will continue to be developed and finalized throughout the summer, but we do want to continue to share as much information as we can to keep you informed and to assist you with your planning. As to be expected, the College will be guided by New York State’s official process for reopening and by the advice of public health authorities, in all of its preparatory work. 

    The Task Force and Planning Committees are concluding their meetings this week and  preparing the final report, which will include recommendations from the various working groups. Updates on our progress will be ongoing. In addition, an official webpage is being designed, and here you will be able to access the latest information and updates. We will let you know when that site is live.

    As mentioned last week, we need to do this planning with some urgency to allow time for implementation of what will be an extensive plan of operations. Whether it is a request to complete a survey, attend a meeting, or respond to an email, we hope that you will “answer the call” and provide us with your feedback. 

    For your reference, here is the updated Task Force timeline: 

    Timeline

    June 1  – President’s review and feedback; consultation with Board and Advisory Council

    June 11 – Board of Trustees consideration

    July 1 – Announcement to the MC community

    With continued prayers for the health and safety of our entire community and with sincere thanks to all involved — 

    William Clyde, Steven Schreiner, Richard Satterlee and Tamara Britt

    Steering Committee Co-Chairs 

     

    The link to the recording from the 5/29/20 meeting is:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VsPj_ZpTOc34SUilqTKwHZ5yodGMYRf9/view?usp=sharing

    The link to the PowerPoint presentation is:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1K3kz5NH7s3vJAZMPxcPWP84y90SGtJrC/view?usp=sharing

  • Task Force Communication Announcement | May 22, 2020

    Dear Members of the Manhattan College Community:

    Last week, we informed you that the Return to Campus Task Force had its initial meeting and began its work in earnest. The Task Force is charged with identifying all of the issues that need to be addressed before our eventual return to campus.  Comprised of three Planning Committees — Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Management, Policy, Compliance, and Campus Operations — as well as working groups, it includes representation from faculty, staff, students and administrators.

    The Task Force met again this week — reviewing the work of the committees into the potential plans, issues and numerous details identified — and we are pleased to report that we are on track and moving in a positive direction. Taking into consideration input and concerns from the community and addressing the many issues involved with this safe return, the working groups are progressing forward in identifying the problems and possible solutions that must be addressed in the coming weeks.

    Below is a snapshot of the Planning Committee reports for this week, highlighting several major action items:

    Academic Affairs

    Teaching, Student Learning, Support & Success, and Global Engagement

    • The Teaching Working Group is identifying a variety of teaching modes that need to be developed and made available. These approaches are designed to teach students in the classroom, in a social-distanced and equitable manner, as well as students who are remote.  Teaching modes must address traditional classrooms, laboratories, clinical and teaching placements, and other hands-on learning environments.  Additionally, remote teaching training for all faculty is being developed and will be offered in early June and beyond for those who need training. Many other topics are under review.

    • The Student Support & Success Working Group (including career development, advising, accommodations, tutoring, supplemental instruction, etc.) requires support for all populations. Those on campus should be able to take advantage of in-person services as much as space allows in a safe manner. The library is developing a comprehensive plan for building access, physical distancing, course support, research support, interlibrary loan, archives, etc.

    • The Global Engagement Working Group is identifying the necessary steps to accommodate international degree-seeking students, in-house study abroad programs, exchanges and outgoing extracurricular noncredit programs. The College aims to provide or resume the full range of offerings as soon as conditions permit.

    Student Affairs

    Residence Life & Residence Hall Operations, Student Leadership & Co-Curricular Programming and Food Service Operations & Dining Venues

    • The Residence Life and Residence Hall subcommittee is working to accommodate demand for housing as we currently have it assigned (approximately 1,500-1,600 residents for fall 2020). In addition, to assign housing based on the above scenarios, we are holding a number of student residences in various parts of the campus as locations for students to self-quarantine. Simultaneously, the Residence Life subcommittee has identified that the total number of campus residents as 720 if state and city authorities deem it necessary to assign housing based on single occupancy (one student per bedroom). In this instance, contingency planning continues on developing an efficient move-in schedule that would stagger student arrival, possibly during a 14-day period.

    • The Student Leadership & Co-Curricular Programming subcommittee is aided by active participation of next year’s Student Government Association (SGA). Its Executive Committee (9 officials) would continue to meet in person in the fall with appropriate social distancing. The SGA assembly would meet virtually but at a common time, so that meetings can involve public comment and involvement of the student body. Many events and club activities would continue virtually. However, the subcommittee is exploring ideas that some popular events and groups can happen in person safely (i.e., lecture series, performing arts ensembles).

    • The Food Service and Dining Operations subcommittee has offered lots of practical suggestions to allow for safe operations of dining venues, including contactless payment and pickup. The subcommittee offered operational detail needed for meal delivery for students in self quarantine in the residence halls. 

    Management, Policy, Compliance, and Campus Operations

    Facilities, Health Services, Operations and Compliance, Employee Affairs and Communications & Constituent Relations

    • The Employee Affairs Working Group developed and circulated a business continuity plan template to be completed by all chairpersons, vice presidents and department heads, aimed at getting a better understanding of the needs of our community, as it relates to staffing, scheduling, accommodations, training and space. These plans will also assist in the development of guidance for return to work protocols with respect to governmental mandates, communication, training, employee safety and wellness.

    • The Health Working Group is developing the testing and response protocol for the campus, including working with Residence Life to identify quarantine and isolation rooms and locations. To supplement the planned response efforts, training is already underway for the first members of the teams who will be responsible for contact tracing within the Manhattan College community.

    • The Facilities Working Group, together with the Campus Operations Working Group, is auditing all spaces on campus to ascertain what mechanisms and resources need to be procured and/or implemented to ensure social distancing and safe interactions within the workplace, classroom and social settings. The latter group is also recommending the development of a campus ambassador program, that will train students and staff who will focus on providing information, guidance and resources to our community, and generally aid in efforts to combat the occurrence of COVID-19 on our campus.

    • The Communications/Constituency Relations Working Group is developing a communication plan that includes a Return to Campus website, where students, faculty, staff and administrators can access information they will need to return safely. The website will provide details about expectations and new protocols put in place for the well-being of the campus community, information about accommodations, and a guide for uses of facilities on and around campus.

    There are many specifics and solutions that will continue to be developed and finalized, but we do want to share as much information as we can to keep you informed and to assist you with your planning. As to be expected, the College will be guided by New York State’s official process for reopening and by the advice of public health authorities, in all of its preparatory work.

    The Task Force will be meeting for the next one or two Fridays, and we plan to continue to update you each week on our progress and hope that these communications will be helpful to you in participating in this important and challenging process. As mentioned in the president’s initial email, we will need to draw extensively on the knowledge, expertise, creativity and wisdom of our entire community to be ready with a plan that is both comprehensive and flexible, preparing us to anticipate and respond to a broad range of possible scenarios. 

    We also need to do this planning with some urgency to allow time for implementation of what will be an extensive plan of operations. Whether it is a request to complete a survey, attend a meeting, or respond to an email, we hope that you will “answer the call” and provide us with your feedback.

    For your reference, here again is the Task Forces’ timeline:

    Timeline

    May 27 – Recommendations finalized by individual Planning Committees

    May 29 – Recommendations discussed by Task Force

    June 1  – President’s review and feedback; consultation with Board and Advisory Council

    June 11 – Board of Trustees consideration

    July 1 (at the latest) – Announcement to the MC Community

     

    With continued prayers for the health and safety of our community and with sincere thanks to all involved — 

    William Clyde, Steven Schreiner, Richard Satterlee and Tamara Britt

    Steering Committee Co-Chairs 

    The link to the recording from the 5-22-20 meeting is:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iJDTzLeBhg2uPA10JF59_gNjO2cf8ICr/view?usp=sharing