Dear Salve Regina students and families,
I hope you are well and safe after a tumultuous spring semester, and that you have been able to find time to relax as the summer approaches. We are looking forward to the start of the fall semester when we can welcome you on campus.
I know that you have many questions and I would like to share some early information about our preparations for the academic year ahead. Although we will need to do some things differently because coronavirus is still with us, I'm confident that Salve Regina will be able to handle whatever comes our way with our signature fortitude and kindness.
A campus readiness planning group was established in May, and this team has been diligently working to identify all of the areas on campus that will need adjustments. The planning group has been in close communication with the governor's office and the R.I. Department of Health along with all R.I. higher education institutions to ensure best practices for keeping academic communities safe throughout the state. Salve Regina's draft plan for opening this fall was recently submitted to the R.I. Department of Health and we are awaiting feedback. We anticipate being able to post the plan publicly in early July.
Throughout the summer, you will be provided with regular updates regarding the new academic year. These weekly emails will officially begin Tuesday, July 7, although we do anticipate a few announcements prior to that date as well. As with Virtual Salve during the remote learning period, a website called Back to Salve will serve as a central repository for all information tied to our coronavirus planning and campus readiness. This site will again be accessible from the University's public website.
Plans for Fall Opening
Salve Regina's plan to reopen is underpinned by our desire to protect the health, safety and security of our students, faculty and staff, while also upholding academic integrity, the quality of our programs and the transformative opportunities of a residential student experience. We are also driven by our mission and a desire to be responsible members of the larger communities within which our campus operates. Below please find key elements of Salve Regina's larger plan:
- Classes will resume Wednesday, Sept. 9.
- Move-in will be staggered, with first-year students arriving Sept. 1-2 and returning students arriving over the following five days. Orientation will begin Sept. 3 and details will be forthcoming in mid-July.
- Athletic information and move-in details for student athletes will be released in late June.
- Residence hall and housing plans will place an emphasis on the de-densification of rooms as well as the safe use of bathrooms and common spaces, including the creation of quarantine spaces if needed.
- Academic spaces like classrooms and laboratories will be reconfigured to allow for social distancing and enhanced technology for bi-modal teaching.
- Dining halls will operate under a pre-determined spacing of tables, re-engineered food stations, pre-packaged meals and scheduled dining.
- Office spaces and work environments have been evaluated for social distancing and protective barriers will be implemented where needed.
- Health Services and testing plans include methods for testing and monitoring our population, along with new policies for social distancing and hygiene practices.
- Programmatic changes involve redesigning Orientation and Convocation to ensure safety.
- General environmental measures include enhanced cleaning procedures across campus, the addition of multiple hand sanitization centers and policies for safe use of all common spaces.
As mentioned previously, I know that you may have many questions about the road ahead. Two virtual town hall meetings have been scheduled to answer these questions more directly and will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 22 and Thursday, Aug. 6. Links for these town halls will be sent closer to the scheduled dates.
Although there is uncertainty in the world, I am confident in the resilience of Salve Regina. We will have some adjustments to our usual practices in order to keep our community safe, but the essence of this special community remains unchanged. With patience and fortitude, we will prevail, and we will remain true to our Mercy mission in everything that we do.
All my best,
Kelli J. Armstrong, Ph.D.