President's Message: 'Responsible Reopening' for Fall

Jun 04, 2020

Cal U’s Reopening Task Force is finalizing plans to welcome students and employees safely to campus this fall. For our University to reopen responsibly, every member of the campus community must make health and safety a priority.

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Now that southwestern Pennsylvania has entered the “green” phase of the governor’s reopening plan and the state Department of Education has provided guidance for resuming in-person operations, Cal U’s Reopening Task Force is finalizing plans to welcome students and employees safely to campus this fall.

We intend to resume on-campus classes, reopen our residence halls and offer a vibrant campus experience – with enhanced measures in place to protect the health and safety of our students and employees. Details of those plans will be shared with you later this month.

Be assured that Cal U is preparing for several scenarios, including a return to remote learning should the COVID-19 pandemic rebound. But for now, we are looking forward to reuniting on campus in August, when the fall semester begins.

The coronavirus has changed our world, and it will change the on-campus experience, too. For Cal U to reopen responsibly, every member of the campus community must make health and safety a priority.

Our Shared Commitment

The University’s “Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” describes the commitments we make to one another as members of the Cal U community. These are especially important now, when individual behavior can impact the physical health and overall well-being of everyone at Cal U.

The University is establishing health and safety standards based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Pennsylvania Department of Health and other experts. As part of our shared commitment, every member of the Cal U community will be expected to abide by these standards. 

We have the right to safety and security; we have the responsibility to ensure the safety and security of others.

Wearing masks and practicing social distancing provides a measure of safety and security for ourselves and those around us. Students and employees may be expected to wear a mask or bandana that covers the nose and mouth in all shared spaces; practice physical distancing in public areas and common spaces, classrooms and labs, libraries and performance venues; and avoid large gatherings, including on-campus and off-campus activities. Visitors may not be permitted in residence halls or at Vulcan Village. 

We have the right to be treated with respect; we have the responsibility to treat others with respect.

Taking responsibility for our own health demonstrates respect for ourselves and those around us. Community members are expected to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds; use hand sanitizer before and after contact with high-touch surfaces; and cough or sneeze into their elbow, not their hands. Students who experience symptoms associated with COVID-19 should contact the campus Health Center immediately and follow the medical staff’s instructions. These may include completing a health survey, participating in coronavirus testing, and/or practicing self-isolation if needed. Employees who experience symptoms should stay at home and contact a medical professional. No one should come to campus if they feel ill. 

We have the right to expect the best; we have the responsibility to give our best.

For Cal U, giving our best includes making changes to protect the health and well-being of everyone on campus. This means that daily life, both in and outside of class, will be different than it was before the pandemic. Students should expect that remote or hybrid instruction (alternating in-class and remote sessions), frequent cleaning of campus buildings, social distancing and other practices may be in effect as the University does its best to respond to the public health crisis. 

We have the right to be treated fairly; we have the responsibility to treat others fairly.

Applying the rules to everyone keeps our entire community safer, and compliance demonstrates a commitment to fair treatment for all. Students who wish to request reasonable accommodations may contact the Office for Students with Disabilities. Employees should contact the Human Resources Office if they have concerns. 

Our University is at its best when we all work together toward a common goal. I appreciate your cooperation as we look ahead to responsibly reopening our campus.

With best wishes,
President Geraldine Jones