We continue to make plans for our return to campus in August. I cannot begin to describe to you how valuable the work and wisdom of VPs Harmon, Jackson, Moon, and Youngblood have been during this process. I am fortunate to be able to work with them. We truly appreciate your patience, hard work, and willingness to adapt during this pandemic. You have gone above and beyond the call, and we are grateful! More info will be coming out over the next two weeks, but here are the items decided so far.
Our current plan is for faculty and staff to return to campus on Monday, August 3, the day of the Faculty Inservice. The standard exceptions to this, based on the CDC and Governor Ivey’s office, would be those 65 and older; those with underlying conditions that are not well controlled, such as lung and heart conditions, immunocompromised individuals, severely obese, diabetics, and those with kidney and liver disease; those who are sick; those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have been in close proximity to someone who has; and pregnant women. If you are over 65, you are not required to stay home, but you need to understand the risks involved. Those who feel that they meet the conditions listed above, or feel that they have another valid reason to do work from home need to communicate with their supervisor. Those who work from home will need to work with their supervisors to establish work and reporting plans.
All who enter the main building will enter through the front door, and we will have a check-in process for entry (no-touch temperature checks, health questions, etc.). The library also has an entry process in place. We have made the decision that we will not be serving meals in the cafeteria this fall. We hope to be able to do so in the spring, but the logistics and dangers trying to do it in the fall make it impractical.
We are currently under a mask order from the Governor’s Office. Citizens are required to “wear a mask when you are in public and in close contact with other people. Specifically, the order says to “wear a mask when you are within six feet of a person from another household in any of the following places: (a) an indoor space open to the public; (b) a vehicle operated by a transportation service; and (c) an outdoor public space where ten or more people are gathered” (governor.alabama.com).
We plan to have our annual Faculty/Staff conference on the morning of Thursday, August 6. The August Board meeting will be held on campus on Friday, August 7. They will meet in the main building to provide more social distancing. Classes will begin on August 10, and we envision students being physically present in the classrooms (with health and social distancing protocols in place). We have not yet fully decided on the move-in dates for students. We are close to finalizing our protocols and hope to have them available by the end of next week.