[For students] Spring 2021 Planning Update

F&M Leadership Team leadership@fandm.edu

Wed, Dec 16, 4:45 PM

Dear F&M Community,

Two weeks after the successful completion of fall term, we are already excited about J-term and Modules 3 and 4 in the spring! 

I am writing now, before the College closes for the December break, to offer a preliminary overview of our planning efforts for a residential-hybrid spring term. Then, in early January, you will hear from us again — and often — with more information on move-in, testing protocols, housing, virtual support and engagement opportunities for students studying remotely, and more, as we prepare for the start of classes on Feb. 1.

Spring Update

  • F&M will reopen with a de-densified campus and hybrid academic plan. Some of our students, including many of our international students and first-year students, will be studying remotely during spring term. In January, we will share information on support resources, special programs, and virtual engagement opportunities to help our students stay connected.
  • We will follow mitigation measures and guidance from local, state and federal agencies regarding health and safety, and everyone on campus will be expected to uphold the principles of an updated F&M Pledge, which include masking, distancing, participating in COVID-19 testing, and compliance with all College protocols.
  • The College will expand testing in the spring, with more frequent, universal testing for all students to detect positive cases earlier, mitigate spread, and to help protect the safety of our community. This strategy will allow for a more routine testing schedule, making it a more predictable process for students. We will share more details on the spring testing strategy in January.
  • All students who are planning to return to campus should do so only if they are willing to abide by these protocols and any others that become necessary during the term. Once again, just as in the fall, returning to campus is a decision to be made thoughtfully. We invite students and their families to think through what residential life on campus entails in a pandemic, in both campus residences and in college-approved, off-campus housing. Our ability to re-open and remain open depends entirely on compliance with the rules and procedures that keep us all safe.
  • There will be a staggered move-in process during the week before classes begin on Feb. 1. As part of move-in, students will be required to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival and then enter a modified quarantine until they receive a negative test result. Specific move-in dates for each residence hall and sign-ups will be available in early January. The College also will expect students and their families to abide by any Pennsylvania state travel orders en route to and before their arrival on campus. 

Pandemic Operations Response Team (PORT)

As we transition to planning for the spring, the Pandemic Operations Team (PORT), with assistance from our consultants Keeling & Associates, will continue to help manage the College’s response to COVID-19. PORT functions as an advisory body to the president and senior officers, including review of circumstances that might require F&M to alter course in response to emerging public health and safety concerns. 

The following professional staff and faculty will serve as members of the Pandemic Operations Response Team (PORT) for the spring 2021 term:

  • Amelia Rauser (PORT Chair), Assoc Dean of the Faculty and Prof of Art History
  • Pierce Buller, Vice President and General Counsel
  • Alan Caniglia, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives
  • Melanie DeSantis, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources
  • Margaret Hazlett, Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs
  • Kelseyleigh Hepler, Special Assistant to the President
  • Derek Thomas, Director of Compliance and Risk Management
  • Mike Wetzel, Assoc Vice President for Facilities Management & Campus Planning
  • Eric Narburgh, Consultant (Keeling & Associates)
  • Alex Vazquez, Vice President for Consulting Services and Senior Consultant (Keeling & Associates)

Founding PORT Chair Donna Pflum has stepped down from that position and has resumed her work as director of alumni and volunteer engagement. I am deeply grateful for Donna’s leadership through the summer and fall in coordinating the College’s COVID-19 pandemic operations. She has done an enormous service for the College in this role.

Dr. Amelia Rauser has graciously assumed the role as chair of PORT. As the academic affairs representative in the fall, she brought her expertise to help coordinate academic matters with operational challenges, and she will lead the team through the spring term with equal aplomb.

Vice President Margaret Hazlett has resumed her work at F&M as of Dec. 14 and will be joining PORT. As we welcome Vice President Hazlett back to the College, we also offer warm thanks to Dr. Deb Moriarty, who brought outstanding leadership to student affairs as interim vice president during a challenging fall.

Dr. Amy Myers, the College’s consulting physician and director of the Student Wellness Center, has been steadfast in overseeing medical matters and will continue to advise PORT as she has done so ably since last spring. We are fortunate that Lexi Breinich, art museum assistant; Lindsey Mercado, conference and events office manager; and Kendel Lyn Stephens, director of conferences and events, will continue their vital work as the College’s quarantine and isolation coordination team. 

I would be remiss not to mention that many others have contributed continuously – with resolve, skill, good will, and tenacity – to PORT, to testing, and to campus operations. Bringing 2020 to a successful close on all fronts has been a team effort like no other. 

We look forward to sharing much more information for the spring term with you in early January. Please note that the College’s administrative offices will be closed Dec. 19 through Jan. 3. Thank you to the members of PORT, Keeling & Associates, and the entire F&M community for making residential and remote education possible for all our students, and for preparing now to ensure a successful spring.

Sending good wishes to you all –

Barbara Altmann

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