Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
In light of the continued global and domestic spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the College is preparing for a wide range of possible impacts on our community. It is important to emphasize that preparation is not prediction. We hope that none of these precautions are necessary. But in the event that they are, the College will prioritize:
Our Incident Action Group (IAG) consists of leaders from across the institution. IAG subcommittees have been established to develop guidance in the following areas:
Community Readiness: This group is responsible for providing guidance on key campus safety and human resource concerns, including sick time, remote work and the monitoring of absenteeism. This group will also monitor information from the PA Department of Health and CDC to recommend parameters for the cancellation of events and gathering on campus. The College will do all we can to support our staff and faculty and ensure that employees who are sick are encouraged to stay home. We are working with outside vendors, including Bon Appetit, our dining services provider, and CSI, our custodial services provider, to develop plans that will minimize the financial impact to their employees of taking time off due to illness.
Subcommittee Lead: Alma Scott-Buczak, Associate Vice President, Human Resources
Instructional Continuity Planning: This group will provide information, training and support to help faculty develop contingency plans to continue course work in the event of widespread student absences or campus closure. Such short-term measures might include increased independent research, use of online tools for remote lecture and discussion, or other pedagogical strategies. A set of resources to support faculty in continuing their teaching and learning activities during emergency class cancellations can be found on the Academic Continuity web page.
Subcommittee Co-Leads: Jason Alley, Director of Learning & Research Technologies; Tracie Addy, Associate Dean for Faculty Support & Director of CITLS
Facilities Planning: This group has two distinct areas of responsibility. One is to ensure a high level of preventive cleaning and disinfecting services on campus to proactively reduce the spread of COVID-19 as well as seasonal influenza. The second is to plan for and enable the College to provide alternative student housing that allows for self-isolation and quarantine if necessary.
Subcommittee Lead: Scott Kennedy, Director of Facilities Operations
Dining and Food Safety: This group is assessing campus food safety and dining options. This Saturday, Bon Appetit will begin to expand protocols that minimize self-serve options, increase grab-and-go availability and enhance food-safety guidelines to levels commonly used when the community is managing widespread influenza. Bon Appetit will also engage with the facilities team for individual meal delivery planning and the consolidation of dining options should that become necessary.
Subcommittee Lead: Chris Brown, General Manager – Bon Appetit Management Company
Fiscal Impact and Policy Development: This group is focused on COVID-19 fiscal impacts, including understanding costs associated with the possible cancellation of campus conferences, study abroad and other related activities. The subcommittee is working to develop travel guidance for faculty and staff. At this time, we are urging community members to use discretion and judgment when considering attending conferences and booking other travel plans.
Subcommittee Lead: Craig Becker, Associate Vice President for Finance & Business
During the weeks ahead, these subcommittees will seek input from the broader community on these and other issues that you believe should be part of our planning efforts. Please feel free to contact the subcommittee leads on any of the topics noted above or email firstname.lastname@example.org, which has been set up to handle inquiries related to our readiness planning. We will continue to post updates on the COVID-19 information webpage.
Inclusion and Respect
Finally, I want to emphasize Lafayette’s commitment to creating an inclusive community in which we all support each other. I ask that we each take on the responsibility of dismantling myths and stigmas that arise from ignorance and can lead to discrimination.
It is important to recognize that:
You can counter stigma by sharing accurate information. Speak up if you hear, see, or read misinformation or witness or experience harassment or discrimination. Information on reporting bias incidents is available online at One Pard.
Everyone has a significant role to play in helping our community prepare for the potential impact from COVID-19. Many of these efforts will also help us reduce the effects from seasonal influenza, which is already present in our community.
My thanks to all members of our campus community who are working hard to support COVID-19 preparedness. We appreciate your efforts to help keep our campus safe and healthy.
President Alison Byerly