Dear Saint Anselm students,
I hope this letter finds you in good health and positive spirits as we approach Christmas and the new year. The semester has ended and the Hilltop is quiet; we are very much looking forward to your return in January prior to our first day of classes on Feb. 1.
Our Spring 2021 Reopening Team is diligently preparing for the semester. I am enthusiastic in light of our successful navigation of the unprecedented challenges we faced this fall. We had some rough points but we persevered as a community. The spring will be different in many ways, but let me stress that COVID-19 continues to pose formidable challenges, especially at the point of your return. We must remain vigilant in our efforts to protect our Anselmian community.
When we began to shape our fall reopening plans last June, there was no playbook, no best practices, and no clear answers. We learned many lessons along the way, which you will see reflected in the changes when you return to campus. Among them you will find:
- There will be five data-based phases to campus restrictions defined by coronavirus cases, containment, and capacity. We will regularly evaluate the COVID-19 risk for campus and adjust restrictions to the appropriate phase driven by the data.
- Each phase contains degrees of visitation within and among residence halls. In addition to “family units” we will consider “extended family units,” expanded visitation within common rooms, and other ways to socialize depending on case data.
- Knowing our outdoor classes and social opportunities will be limited in the winter, we will provide expanded indoor locations and hours for classes, studying with classmates, and visiting with friends. We are currently remodeling several rooms in Alumni and Poisson halls to allow for larger class gatherings and will have added hours in several common spaces.
- The Community Care Covenant has been redrafted to emphasize the most important aspects of keeping our campus safe. It is important that we continue to abide by the health and safety standards of the Covenant to preserve our community bubble.
Over the next few weeks, you will receive more specifics about your assigned return date, the academic calendar, our spring testing plans, and aspects of campus life. In the meantime, be assured we are working hard to prepare for a robust and rewarding semester, with significant input from your fellow students, many of whom are members of the Spring 2021 Reopening Team.
In the fall, we made critical decisions and invested more than $2M in testing equipment and supplies, teaching technology, and campus improvements. We did so with the firm belief that we are better together on our campus – a fact that remains true today. We are looking forward to seeing you back on the Hilltop in a few short weeks for the spring semester.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any feedback you would like to share. I wish you a blessed Christmas and send you hopes and prayers for a happy and healthy new year.
Joseph A. Favazza, Ph.D.