Aug. 26 - To the Salve Regina community: Update on academics for the fall semester
Dear Salve Regina community,
The fall semester is nearly upon us. While we are excited to begin, we also recognize that we are still navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, our high vaccination rate on campus has put us in a strong position to start the semester, but as we know, vaccinations do not prevent exposure to COVID-19 or any variants. As an academic community, we want to assure you that we will seek to preserve the traditional, in-person residential learning experiences that Salve Regina is known for, while also minimizing the health risk to our students, faculty and staff.
Our academic plan for the upcoming year has been designed in a way that allows faculty to continue their use of creative and interactive strategies to engage students deeply in the learning experience, while also remaining centered on direct access to the classroom environment.
Classroom Occupancies and Expectations
All classrooms have been reconfigured to allow normal occupancy with limited restrictions on spacing. Assigned seating has been instituted in each class to assist in contact identification should there be a concern of exposure. Students should not reconfigure classroom furniture and are required to sit in their assigned seats during class. The consumption of food or beverages will not be permitted during in-person instruction.
While Salve Regina has not specifically instituted a mask mandate, our University policy is in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and the Rhode Island Department of Health regarding masking when local transmission rates are high. As such, students are expected to comply with any masking requirements in place throughout the semester. Currently, local transmission rates remain high. All students, staff and faculty can expect to wear masks in classrooms and common areas indoors regardless of vaccination status until otherwise notified. Faculty members will ask students to leave the classroom if they are unable to comply with these regulations. Students whose accessibility will be limited by these protocols, including students who utilize lip reading, should contact the Office of Disability Services for guidance.
As previously communicated, we are shifting away from dual modality in order to focus on delivering the most productive in-person experience possible. Access to learning is still our top priority. Faculty have planned for various pandemic-related scenarios, and each course will have an identified solution contained within its syllabus should on-campus learning be disrupted for that course.
Salve Regina’s continuing COVID-19 plan will require some students to isolate/quarantine for up to 10 days at a time. Students must notify instructors upon learning of such absences. Instructors will work with students to allow learning to continue, even when class attendance is not possible.
Appropriate academic support during illness, isolation or quarantine may include a combination of providing class notes and slides; alternatives for in-class participation such as an online discussion board, online office hours or video submissions; sharing recordings of class meetings and using virtual meeting setups to allow the student to view class in real time.
Academic supports will be based on individual circumstances. If a student experiences significant disruption to their learning due to multiple periods of required isolation/quarantine, they should work with their instructors and the dean of undergraduate studies or their graduate program director to come to a resolution. Faculty members who are required to isolate/quarantine (or care for a dependent family member who is isolating/quarantining) will utilize a fully remote modality to continue class instruction.
Cleaning and Ventilation
Disinfecting wipe stations or cleaning supplies will be provided in classrooms, office spaces and common areas across campus. Students will have the option to clean their seating areas upon arriving and departing the classroom.
HVAC systems remain set to increase the flow of outside air into buildings with air distribution systems. Before the fall semester begins, all systems will be checked for proper operation. In historic buildings without HVAC systems, occupants will again be encouraged to open windows and doors to ensure maximum exposure to fresh air, as long as weather allows. Also, HEPA air purifiers have been added to classrooms in those buildings.
Laboratories and Experiential Learning
Courses with a laboratory component will resume for in-person instruction. Music, dance and theater courses will also continue with some restrictions anticipated for live audiences for performances. Education and social work students will continue with their community clinicals in accordance with placement guidelines. Nursing students will work in the simulation lab as well as according to placement guidelines for clinicals and instruction. Appropriate PPE is required for external placements.
McKillop Library and Facilities
The library, computer labs and other facilities will remain open to the campus community. Please note guidelines pertaining to mask use and the consumption of food or beverages in spaces that are both social and academic.
Technology Support Services
The Technology Services Center has expanded its services and hours of coverage to fully support campus operations. Hours are listed on the TSC Campus portal page. As always, members of the Salve Regina community can submit a service request ticket to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Expanded Outdoor Wireless Coverage
State-of-the-art exterior wireless networking will be in place at the start of the fall semester for the areas between McKillop Library and Gerety Hall, with full high-speed wireless networking coverage on the great lawn area of Gerety Hall. Toppa Field will also have expanded wireless networking coverage and dramatically increased capacity online for the fall semester.
As always, you are encouraged to submit general comments, questions or concerns to email@example.com. We will continue to keep you updated regarding the start of the academic year – and beyond. We look forward to seeing everyone back on campus soon.