July 7 Update - Task Force Update -Preparations are being made for town halls this week for new and returning students, and a draft of student guidelines was shared with families in an email sent on July 6.
June 22 Update – At 12:30 p.m. today, President Blomberg shared an update regarding the upcoming fiscal year. Please check your email for this important message.
June 19 Update – The college will announce decisions about our new fiscal year budget on Monday, June 22, followed by an email that shares our fall semester re-opening plans on Wednesday, June 24. We are fine-tuning the Ursinus-specific “phases” that provide additional clarity around our guidelines, particularly those for visitors and external audiences. We are moving quickly to implement a streamlined testing process.
June 18 Update – Plans regarding the college’s re-opening were shared with trustees at yesterday’s business meeting. That announcement, along with anticipated budgetary changes for FY21, are being finalized. A new COVID-19 landing page has been created to share audience-specific information, including re-opening guidelines. Student Affairs continues to make progress with “move-in,” and we continue to work towards a comprehensive testing plan for all campus members that kicks-in prior to their official return to Ursinus.
June 17 Update – The taskforce is working on two key communications for the next few days: plans for the college’s re-opening and anticipated institutional changes for FY21 as a result of the pandemic. Student Affairs has drafted a comprehensive “move-in” plan for students that will be communicated begin in early July. We are fine-tuning a process that allows all students, faculty and staff to be tested prior to their arrival on campus. We are investigating ways to install outdoor tents for academic and co-curricular activities. And we are working with Olympus on expanded clearing and janitorial plans.
June 10 Update – The taskforce is collecting final feedback from faculty about potential options for the fall semester. We also spoke staffing and preparing the Wellness Center as effectively as possible for the fall. We continue to investigate proposals from Quest and LabCorp about testing. We are working with facilities on an inventory of our buildings to promote social distancing measures. And we thank Collegeville Mayor Aidsand Wright-Riggings for his video messaging promoting LIVE! on Main, our new virtual event series!
June 8 Update – The taskforce is making progress on return-to-work guidelines for faculty, staff and students. Those guidelines will live on a webpage and as documents. A preliminary “phased” approach for the re-opening has been drafted that outlines key dates and addresses important questions. We discussed the different measures that facilities may undertake in buildings to promote social distancing. Last, a series of questions is being sent to Montgomery County colleges to encourage discussion and offer “best practices” in the region. June 5 Update – As the country transitions to the “yellow phase,” most Ursinus employees are asked to continue to work remotely. We continue to make progress on the re-opening strategy, which aligns closely with June 3’s preliminary re-opening guidelines announced by the PA Department of Education. We reviewed ongoing cleaning operations, ideas around a travel policy and upcoming communications.
June 2 Update – A Level 3 meeting will happen this afternoon. Today we discussed the details of a meeting with Marriott officials about potential housing options for students in the fall should they be necessary. CASE and LIT are working on internal guidelines for conducting on-campus meetings, and we continue to look into the best use of recreational facilities. A team lead by Prof. Dawley is exploring contact tracing options. Please submit more questions at the COVID-19 inbox!
June 1 Update - The taskforce is focusing on all variables associated with Montgomery County’s expected transition to the “yellow phase.” We are looking at recommendations related to travel—both discretionary and essential—and how we can best minimize travel to-and-from campus for the fall semester. We continue to engage with potential testing partners to develop a plan that is in the best interest for Ursinus and should be in a position to share updates soon.
May 29 Update - The taskforce continues to look through multiple aspects of what a safe return to campus will look like including travel guidelines, classroom needs, the use of athletics facilities, key communication timelines and more. The latest announcements have involved news about CARES funding and a change in the timing of the employee performance reviews. Later today, President Blomberg will provide another campus update on key progress points.
May 28, 2020 — The task force continues to work toward planning and setting guidelines for employees’ return to campus and is considering several different scenarios for students’ potential return to campus in the fall, as well as options for COVID-19 testing. We also continue to be in touch with Montgomery County officials regarding plans for re-opening.
May 26, 2020 –
We will be engaging with task force leaders at other Montgomery County colleges and universities this week to discuss plans and resources required for the return of faculty, staff and students to residential campuses throughout the county. A summary of those topics for discussion will soon be posted to the Canvas site for faculty and staff
, and we’ll be keeping Montgomery County officials apprised of the discussion among colleges. Meanwhile, student move-out from campus continues to proceed.
May 22, 2020 – We are anticipating a very busy weekend for move-out, which has progressed nicely this past week. We’ve started thinking about the Commons and how it may accommodate visitors beginning this fall. The development of an internal “guidance” on how to consider our employees’ return to campus remains a priority, and we continue to look at “temperature stations” and other measures that will need to be in place soon. Letters about CARES funding have been sent to students. Please note: wear masks when working indoors and in tight common spaces. Thank you!
May 21, 2020 – We held an introductory meeting with LabCorp to discuss testing options for our campus community, which remains a priority for the taskforce. More details to come soon. We are working closely with the office of human resources to create internal “guidances” on what a return-to-work for staff and faculty may look like. We will be communicating with our students an update on CARES funding, and discussed plans around the launch of a virtual summer event series.
May 20, 2020 – Move-out continues to go well! We’ve begun discussing preliminary guidelines around a “return-to-work” plan for faculty and staff. We’re beginning a classroom inventory that will help determine how best to accommodate stricter space and usage guidelines. We’re meeting today with LabCorp to continue learning more about possible testing options, much like we’ve done with Quest Diagnostics. And we’ve started putting together plans for a new virtual event series this summer promoting music, culture and intellectual discussion for Ursinus.
May 19, 2020 - Today is the second day of move-out. Yesterday’s session went well. Signage has been placed around campus that masks must be worn when entering all buildings. We continue to make progress on discussions about the fall semester and have engaged the presidents of other Montgomery County colleges to share best practices and informative resources with one another to assist in those decisions. Last, we continue to discuss testing and what a campus-wide implementation may look like.
Monday, May 18 - The college officially launched “move-out” this morning. We met with Quest Diagnostics on Friday to begin discussions around testing and what a campus-wide implementation may look like. We are placing an initial order for masks and are updating signage saying that masks must be worn when entering all buildings. Communications about CARES funding other general campus updates are now being developed.
Friday, May 15 - The college continues to follow-up on this week’s meeting with Montgomery County Commission Chair Dr. Valerie Arkoosh and County Chief Medical Officer Dr. Alvin Wang about regional collaboration. We are meeting with regional neighbor Quest Diagnostics on further strategies around testing options, and looking at ways to use grants to provide additional digital training and instruction opportunities for faculty this summer.
Wednesday, May 13 - President Blomberg, the task force and college Wellness staff met virtually with Montgomery County Commission Chair Dr. Valerie Arkoosh and County Chief Medical Officer Dr. Alvin Wang to discuss a collaboration for dealing with COVID-19 on college campuses. Ursinus, the first college to reach out to these officials, is positioned to be a leader in coordinating efforts county-wide. More to come.