Inventing the Wheel: The Virus Task Force
“Ursinus has one of the most aggressive policies to keep [the] virus out.”
–The Philadelphia Inquirer
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.