Fall planning update from President Conner
Dear Skidmore Community,
As we close in on completion of our Phase 4 reopening plan and get ready for the start
of the fall semester, now less than a month away, I want to acknowledge and thank
all the members of our Skidmore community whose ongoing efforts are aimed at creating
as safe, supportive and engaging an academic environment for our students as we can.
We are carefully aligning our plans with state and county health guidelines, all of
which we meet and most of which we exceed.
In a little over a week from now, on Aug. 7, we will begin welcoming back students from states on New York’s Travel Advisory List so they can complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine in a local hotel before returning to campus to take in-person classes beginning on Aug. 24. Skidmore will provide a private room, food services and any forms of support during the quarantine period. More information will soon be shared with those who have indicated a need for quarantine housing. Students whose situation or plans have changed or are traveling from a state that has recently been added to the New York State Advisory List should complete the quarantine arrival on campus form. Applications for quarantine housing are still being accepted and we continue to monitor changes daily.
At the end of the quarantine period, students who have been in isolation will be tested for COVID-19 before being cleared to return to campus, and all other students returning to campus for the fall semester will also be tested upon arrival. After that, the College will test all students every week throughout the semester. We are working to establish a testing protocol and frequency for all employees whose responsibilities involve in-person interaction with students.
About 60% of our classes will have an in-person element this fall, and our Facilities and Housekeeping teams have been hard at work preparing classrooms for proper distancing, spacing and hygiene. Nine large tent classrooms will offer outdoor ventilation in a safely distanced setting. Facilities is working with experts to ensure there is proper circulation in all campus buildings, and new filters are being installed in all HVAC units. Facilities is also working with vendors to install hand sanitizers at multiple locations in every building and dispersing EPA-approved disinfectant in every building and classroom. All academic and residential buildings are being deep-cleaned, and we have developed new cleaning protocols to ensure all areas are disinfected on a regular basis, with high-traffic areas being disinfected more often, including residence hall bathrooms.
In addition, to enhance our partnership with the Saratoga Springs community, we are holding discussion forums and meetings with our North Broadway neighbors, police and fire department officials, Saratoga Hospital administrators, and local community, civic and business leaders. As I have said before, all of us — students, staff and the local community — must work together to make this a safe and sustainable fall semester, and we must take an all-in approach in support of the entire community’s safety.
Marc C. Conner