May 8, 2020
As we approach the end of one of the most unusual semesters, if not ever, certainly in our lifetimes, I again want to thank everyone for their diligence, determination, and creativity. Because of your work, most of our students will be able to complete the semester successfully, despite the significant disruption of normal campus operations due to the pandemic.
It has been quite a few weeks now that our campus, our state, and much of our nation have been under various guidelines and directives that restrict our activities in multiple ways. As you are likely aware, at the end of last month, Governor Edwards extended his “stay at home” order through May 15. Please be reminded that we should all be continuing to abide by these directives and guidelines until they are lifted or modified. As a result, other than for those previously identified essential staff whose work requires their presence on campus, individuals should still not routinely be present in campus facilities.
We expect to begin learning more about potential changes to the Governor’s orders between now and May 15. In anticipation of modification to the “stay at home” orders, I have asked division heads to begin drafting plans for a phased return of campus operations. While I know we are all anxious for a return to normalcy, we will develop plans for returning to campus that keep the health and safety of employees, students, and visitors as our paramount concerns.
As division heads work with personnel in their divisions to develop plans, they will also collaborate with the Campus Safety office to ensure compliance with relevant safety guidelines and best practices. Once the specific details of the Governor’s new orders are known and plans are complete, division heads will communicate with faculty and staff in their respective divisions about next steps.
How colleges and universities plan to operate for the upcoming Fall Semester is the subject of much speculation. Nationally, several institutions have made announcements about plans for operations in the fall, with everything from completely online to mostly normal campus operations being announced. However, most of these announcements have also included language to the effect that the plans are subject to change based on evolving information.
While it will likely be some time yet before we can make a definitive statement about exactly what the Fall Semester will look like, clearly my plan, and my hope, is that we will launch the Fall Semester with campus operations being much more normal than how we are ending the Spring Semester. That is certainly what we are going to work toward in the weeks ahead. Cleaning crews are already at work on campus as an initial step.
As always, I will endeavor to keep our campus community apprised of new developments.
Please continue to stay safe and healthy.
John L. Crain