Inventing the Wheel: The Virus Task Force

 

“Ursinus has one of the most aggressive policies to keep [the] virus out.
–The Philadelphia Inquirer

MARK SCHNEIDERVice President for Academic Affairs,Dean of the College, and Task Force ChairMARK SCHNEIDER
Vice President for Academic Affairs,
Dean of the College, and Task Force Chair
By Ed Moorhouse
Director of Media and Communications

Like many colleges and universities across the country, Ursinus entered the 2020-21 academic year with quite a few unknowns. How would it manage a residential, in-person learning experience while COVID-19 gripped the globe?

There were no right answers.
There was no playbook.

But by using its own unique data and analysis while incorporating the latest information and guidance from federal, state, and local officials—and by meeting every day during the summer months and the academic year—what once seemed improbable became possible.

The Virus Task Force, led by Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Mark Schneider, patiently and resourcefully laid the groundwork for success. Under its counsel, the college put in place an extensive protocol of testing and contact tracing to keep widespread transmission of the virus in check, a critical measure given that 80 percent of students chose to live and learn on campus.

And because of Task Force leadership, the college was able to quickly pivot and adjust to rapidly changing circumstances in the region—efforts that were lauded in The Philadelphia Inquirer and by other peer institutions. The group worked collaboratively with other campus partners to help guide the college’s strategies and prioritize the health and safety of the campus community.

  • TOM YENCHO Chief Communications Officer
    TOM YENCHO
    Chief Communications Officer

  • NICOLE SMITH Executive Assistant to the Vice President for Academic Affairs
    NICOLE SMITH
    Executive Assistant to the Vice
    President for Academic Affairs
  • HEATHER LOBBAN-VIRAVONG Vice President for College and Community Engagement
    HEATHER LOBBAN-VIRAVONG
    Vice President for College
    and Community Engagement
  •    LAUREN FINNEGAN   Director of Counseling and Wellness

    LAUREN FINNEGAN
    Director of Counseling and Wellness

  • LAURA MOLIKEN Associate Vice President for Health and Wellness and Director of Athletics
    LAURA MOLIKEN
    Associate Vice President for Health and
    Wellness and Director of Athletics
  •    MISSY BRYANT   Vice President for Student Affairs andDean of Students

    MISSY BRYANT
    Vice President for Student Affairs and
    Dean of Students

  • KELLY SORENSEN Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies
    KELLY SORENSEN
    Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and
    Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies
  • CAROL MCMILLIN ’85 Director of Environmental Health and Safety and Risk Management
    CAROL MCMILLIN ’85
    Director of Environmental Health
    and Safety and Risk Management
  • BOB CLOTHIER Vice President and General Counsel
    BOB CLOTHIER
    Vice President and General Counsel