Fall planning update from President Conner
Dear Skidmore Community,
As we prepare for the official start of the fall semester this Monday, Aug. 24, the excitement of this milestone is apparent, though undoubtedly tempered by the reality of the circumstances in which we are living. As eager as we may be to return to campus life as we’ve known it, we must all continue to exercise caution and remember our responsibility to the health and safety of the entire community. It is the only way to ensure the success of an in-person fall experience.
With that said, there is still so much to look forward to. Many students are moving back to campus this week, COVID-19 testing is underway for students and employees, we will welcome our incoming Class of 2024 during a virtual New Student Convocation this Sunday, and many of our students, staff and faculty who won’t be returning to campus for the fall are gearing up for a remote semester of inspired online courses. Our students in quarantine will soon be coming out of isolation, and we are so grateful for their commitment throughout a difficult process. It has been very inspiring to see so many staff, alumni and fellow students rally with them and support them through creative programming and outreach.
In turning our attention to implementing our plans for a fulfilling, albeit unusual, fall semester, the College will remain dedicated to providing frequent, robust communications. Over the summer, we kept the Skidmore community informed about every step of the fall semester planning process, and we will continue to keep the community apprised of developments. Skidmore’s evolving reopening plan is now finalized to meet or exceed all New York state requirements. This plan contains many interdependent pieces that rely on an all-in commitment from everyone in our community to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and a quick and simple weekly testing process for all students and on-campus employees will be a critical component of our overall efforts.
Alongside testing, we will be tracking a number of key state, local and campus metrics to closely monitor and mitigate the risk of COVID-19 at the College, and we will be sharing some of these key figures — including the number of tests conducted and the number of positive student and employee cases on campus — in a new COVID-19 dashboard that will be updated with daily and weekly statistics. Skidmore has established five alert levels, ranging from Alert Level 1, in which there are very few positive cases on campus and the situation is very manageable, to Alert Level 5, in which the spread of COVID-19 is no longer manageable and all campus operations must be shut down. By tracking all key metrics and following these parameters, the College will make decisions and adjustments throughout the fall to do all it can to protect the entire community and provide a safe on-campus experience.
I very much look forward to embarking on this fall semester with all of you. We all share a common hope that we will meet the challenges of this moment, and I know we can achieve that goal together.
Marc C. Conner