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Skidmore College
Fall 2020 Planning

Fall semester update from President Conner

Dear Skidmore Community,

So far, so good! I applaud the ongoing commitment to following all health and safety protocols and the actions you are taking to protect one another. They continue to keep us on a path to success, now into this third week of the fall semester. With results from over 6,400 tests returned to date, the College has still seen no new positive COVID-19 cases since the very first week of testing in mid-August.

Amid new daily reports of colleges across the country switching to all-remote learning to control outbreaks, we should count ourselves fortunate and continue to set an example. Please remain vigilant and remember what’s at stake — the consequences of missteps could easily turn into the loss of the rest of an in-person semester for most of our students and significant challenges for our campus and surrounding community.

A resource that will help us stay on track, the CoVerified app, is now live and is mandatory for all students studying on campus. CoVerified assists with monitoring symptoms of COVID-19, scheduling appointments for testing and accessing test results. All students are required to submit a symptom check every 24 hours via the app. Failure to meet these requirements could result in restriction from campus.

Staff and faculty meetings

On Sept. 4, I hosted the first of what will become monthly campuswide staff meetings, which will be held the same day as the monthly faculty meeting. It was great to see over 200 staff members in attendance at the virtual gathering, during which I and other College administrators provided updates on COVID-19 efforts, fall instruction, the first-year class, the Racial Justice Initiative, diversity and inclusion at Skidmore and the planning process for the spring semester. Staff participating in the Zoom session also broke out into smaller groups to consider three questions — what they hope to take away from the monthly meetings, what they value about Skidmore and what concerns they would like to see addressed — and their responses will help guide discussions and objectives for future staff meetings.

Later in the day, the first faculty meeting of the fall semester was also held virtually. Several good questions were raised about the Racial Justice Initiative — particularly about specific action items — and it was clear that there is keen interest in what we can achieve together through the initiative. I encourage all of you to continue thinking about ideas you can offer and how you can get involved or lend a hand in any of the steps I outlined. The initiative is a collaborative effort, and you are all invited to play a part.

These community discussions are so important as we work together for the success and betterment of Skidmore, and I very much appreciate the level of involvement, critical thinking, creativity and dedication I have seen so far. Keep the ideas and questions coming, and let’s keep this positive momentum going.


Marc C. Conner