July 4, 2020

Message #1 from the Task Force

A message from the President’s Task Force.

Good afternoon,

This is the first of weekly communications with the campus community from the Task Force that President Paino has initiated to answer questions about what resuming face-to-face education in the fall might look like.

As we’ve gotten beyond the initial discussion of the overarching issues, President Paino has added to the Task Force to include representatives from the University Faculty Council (UFC) and the Staff Advisory Council (SAC), as well as a number of other units and areas of expertise. The Task Force has divided its efforts into seven subgroups: Public Health, Academics, Student Life, Residential Life, Dining, Work Life, and Technology. Each of these subgroups has membership beyond the core Task Force and is focused on the many different issues that we must work on in order to be prepared to open. Subgroup topics covered include, but are not limited to, the following:

Public Health: alignment with federal and state guidelines; testing, contact tracing, isolation capabilities; sufficiency of personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as policies and legal analysis of PPE requirements; regional preparedness including the adequacy of area health care facilities and relationship building with partners.

Academics: faculty development and support for remote/online instruction; governance and approval of remote/online instruction; planning for a variety of alternative ways to provide instruction; analysis of classroom limits and social distancing requirements; sufficiency of academic support services and resources; academic policies and procedures; guidance and plans for remote/online laboratory, studio, and experiential classes; cleaning of academic facilities; classroom policies.

Student Life: protocols for remote/online student support services; planning for behavioral issues; redevelopment of co-curricular events and activities in accordance with social distancing; alterations to the campus infrastructure to reduce large gatherings; athletic team competition; fitness facilities.

Residential Life: adequacy of isolation spaces; evaluation of reasonable student density and placement within residence halls; policies and procedures to support social distancing in residential spaces; move-in plans; staff training; closure and cleaning protocols.

Dining: design and implementation of plans to promote social distancing in dining facilities; development of plans for quick pick-up, delivery and takeout; processes to ensure delivery of meals to students in isolation; policies and procedures around personal protective equipment (PPE) for Sodexo workers and patrons.

Work Life: adequacy of the University’s infectious disease preparedness and response plans; implementation of infection prevention measures; policies for prompt identification and isolation of sick employees; development, implementation, and communication about workplace flexibilities and protections, including PPE; implementation of workplace protocols to encourage safe practices.

Technology: assessment and remediation of gaps in student and faculty access to computers, internet access, and specialized software (especially focused on addressing the digital divide and the equity imperative); adequacy of telecommunications and infrastructure to continue to support remote instruction and work.

See the membership lists and chairs below for the Task Force and these subgroups. We encourage you to contact members of the subgroups to share your ideas and suggestions.

Currently the Task Force is raising and beginning to answer questions about all the areas that we would need to address to be ready for the fall. The work is framed in four primary scenarios:  1) reopening campus, 2) monitoring the health conditions to detect infection, 3) containment to prevent the spread of disease if/when detected, and 4) return to remote operations if that becomes necessary. The Task Force is also identifying the needed resources to improve our readiness in all of these areas (for example, how much PPE and how many masks we would need to acquire and how). Again, the prevailing goal is to move forward on fulfilling our educational mission while addressing the safety needs of staff, faculty, and students.

The work of the Task Force is influenced by research and guidance from a variety of agencies, offices, and organizations, including Governor Northam’s “Forward Virginia” plan, the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins, the Harvard/Rockefeller Foundation “Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience,” the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the American College Health Association (ACHA) and the Report of the Higher Education Subcommittee to Reopen Connecticut, among others. The Task Force is also looking forward to further guidance from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). 

As President Paino announced in his email two days ago, in addition to a weekly email from the Task Force, you can expect to see a number of interactive sessions going forward, including the UFC meeting yesterday and more Zoom/YouTube Q&A sessions with campus leaders. We will also be setting up a web page for the Task Force with a place where you can submit your ideas and suggestions.

Our hope is to provide information to you regularly, quickly, and transparently as the Task Force and its subgroups examine complex issues and identify solutions to allow the University to move forward safely and successfully.

 

Jeff McClurken, Chief of Staff

Tim O’Donnell, Associate Provost

 

Task Force Membership

Troy Paino (chair)
Lisa Bowling
Audrey Burges
Andrew Dolby
Dave Fleming
Sabrina Johnson
Pete Kelly
Juliette Landphair
Lynn Lewis
Jeff McClurken
Keith Mellinger
Nina Mikhalevsky
Mike Muckinhaupt
Tim O’Donnell
Christy Pack
Anand Rao
Lynne Richardson
Jerry Slezak
Debra Schleef
Stuart Sullivan
Nancy Wang
Beth Williams
Kimberly Young

 

Public Health Subgroup

Jeff McClurken (co-chair)
Mike Muckinhaupt (co-chair)
Anna Billingsley
Lisa Bowling
Patrick Catullo
Dave Fleming
Melissa Jones
Juliette Landphair
Sue Lafayette
Lynn Lewis
Paul Messplay
Nina Mikhalevsky
Tim O’Donnell
Chris Porter
Stuart Sullivan
Nancy Wang
Beth Williams
Susan Worrell

 

Academics Subgroup

Nina Mikhalevsky (chair)
Andrew Dolby
Pete Kelly
Jeff McClurken
Keith Mellinger
John Morello
Tim O’Donnell
Anand Rao
Lynne Richardson
Debra Schleef
Kimberly Young

 

Student Life Subgroup

Juliette Landphair (chair)
Dave Fleming
Melissa Jones
Brittanie Naff
Cedric Rucker
Kelly Shannon
Nancy Wang
Tev Zukor

 

Residence Life Subgroup

Dave Fleming (chair)
Nolan Akau
Matt Brooks
Megan Brown
Cece Burkett
Michelle Brooks
Lee Roy Johnson
Jessica Machado
Mike Muckinhaupt
Hunter Rauscher
Stuart Sullivan
Mary Taylor
Nancy Wang

 

Dining Subgroup

Juliette Landphair (chair)
Dave Fleming
Mike Greenfield
Roy Platt
Chris Porter
Cedric Rucker

 

Work Life Subgroup

Beth Williams (co-chair)
Christy Pack (co-chair)
Rosemary Arneson
Terri Arthur
Mike Hubbard
Sabrina Johnson
Melva Kishpaugh
Mike Muckinhaupt
Michelle Pickham
Stuart Sullivan

 

Technology Subgroup

Jerry Slezak (chair)
Hall Cheshire
Jeff McClurken
Keith Mellinger
Tim O’Donnell
Anand Rao
Debra Schleef