Jun 15th, 2020 @ 8:39 am | Author: Alan LaFave, D.M.A.
Greetings from Valley City State University!
As you might imagine, the most frequent question I’m asked these days is whether or not VCSU will be opening this fall and resuming face-to-face instruction. I am very pleased to enthusiastically answer with a resounding yes!
In response to the pandemic, our campus Emergency Management Team is meeting twice weekly to complete our plans for a successful and smart restart plan for this fall. This local group includes chairs for nine different working groups focused on North Dakota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, along with recommendations and procedures developed by several national health and higher education organizations.
Prior to reopening many of our campus buildings on July 6, we are ensuring that proper protocols, equipment and supplies are in place, including sufficient PPE (personal protective equipment), face masks, signage, training for employees, see-through barriers, hand sanitizer dispensers, electrostatic disinfecting machines for large spaces, and office cleaning supplies.
Additionally, Jill DeVries, VCSU athletic director, and I are serving on the NDUS Small College Restart Task Force. This group is very engaging and conversational as we look for the most appropriate and size-specific solutions and strategies to address the many challenges for smaller schools such as ours.
One of the biggest challenges we face will be to provide ample and sufficient testing for our students, faculty and staff upon their return, but rest assured that all of the NDUS institutions, in concert with state health authorities and agencies, are sharing plans and best practices as we reopen our campuses.
We know how very important it is for us to be responsible and vigilant as we move forward with a thorough and smart restart plan. We also know that even though our move to remote learning for the last eight weeks of spring semester was successful, students prefer face-to-face classes for delivery of instruction.
The campus experience is an amazing and wonderful teaching and learning environment. In addition to classroom learning, the environment nurtures the development of lifelong friendships, faculty mentorship, and leadership development. Living on campus and playing an active role in community life through participation in student organizations, intercollegiate and intramural athletics, and art and music, among others, provide unrivaled opportunities for personal growth and complete the educational experience for our students. We look forward to having our community back together on campus this fall!
In the meantime, I trust you are enjoying these early days of summer. I invite you to take a walk, a run or bike ride through our beautiful campus. Please do stop and take a break on campus —relax on one of our benches or picnic tables and take time to appreciate the beauty of our front yard.