Fall Semester Planning Update
Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,
As we conclude the spring semester, I’d like to take the opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to all members of our community for your collective response to the challenges of the past few months. I know many of you have faced personal hardships and professional challenges in the shift to remote learning and working, and in helping the College continue to function and fulfill its educational mission.
Given the continued uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to address our return to campus, both for our workforce and for students. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is moving to allow selected regions of the state to reopen in stages. We expect our region to be allowed to resume some level of business operations soon, but we will know for sure only when there is an official announcement. Until then, we will continue teleworking.
As we prepare for the new academic year, an academic planning group of faculty, staff and students is hard at work, led by Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Orr. This group is considering various potential scenarios for the coming academic year and is developing a range of options for offering our academic programs. The group is working in conjunction with the College’s COVID-19 working group, which has been leading our response to the pandemic since it first emerged. The COVID-19 working group is developing guidelines for safely reopening the campus, including specifying social distancing protocols, determining how residential spaces should be organized, exploring how to provide dining services safely, and establishing the capacity of our classrooms, labs, offices and studios.
Our planning efforts are being guided by several key principles, including safeguarding the health and safety of all members of the Skidmore community, maintaining our commitment to academic excellence, and ensuring personal interaction between students and faculty and staff, preferably within a residential community setting.
Although we are hoping to resume normal operations in some form, as noted above, the reopening of campus will be subject to guidelines and directives from health officials and government authorities. We will continue to adapt to the evolving situation as we develop our plans. Given the fluidity of everything, we must recognize that the current situation could change during the planning process, requiring additional flexibility and adjustments.
The planning group’s recommendations will be made and decided upon by mid-summer, if not earlier, and we will keep the community informed about developments along the way.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present unprecedented challenges for both Skidmore College and the world at large. I am confident that our community, as always, will demonstrate the creative thought that makes Skidmore so special. It most certainly will take our collective efforts as we move forward with our educational mission, and it is very important that we continue to work together in a spirit of cooperation, compassion, understanding and flexibility.
Philip A. Glotzbach