SU Town Hall on Preparing for the Future: Return-to-Campus Overview – June 2, 2020

Hello, everybody Thank you all for joining us I originally called this town hall meeting so that I could talk to you about the planning that’s taking place as we welcome students, faculty, and staff back on our campus this fall I’m going to get to that in a minute, but I first want to talk about another crisis in this country, one that has lasted far longer than this current virus and for which we have yet to find a cure We watched last week as Americans grieved and protested after yet another unjust murder of an innocent black man It breaks my heart to hear how this is impacting people in our university community, people who are sad, and people who are angry, and people who are tired, tired of the pandemic of racism in our country that has led to the unjust injury and deaths of so many innocent black men and women by police officers and others, tired of the systemic racism that causes black and brown people in America to fall ill and die from the COVID-19 virus at disproportionately high rates, tired of all of this happening in our country I wish more than an ever we can be together now This is a time in which should be there for one another and what we can do together to create change I believe that every university has a solemn duty to be a leader in its community to confront racism and to promote social justice and to care for each other And I commit Salisbury University to this task I’ve asked Joan Williams, our new chief diversity officer, to join us to discuss some of the ways that we’re going to try to work through these important issues in this virtual environment Joan Hello, President White Thank you I want to say at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, we too have watched with everyone else and have been devastated by the images that we have witnessed over the past week of an unarmed black man murdered in broad daylight, and Americans so traumatized that they would take the streets out of a desperate plea for justice As you have already said, this is coupled by a global pandemic and the worst economy since the Great Depression, all of which has disproportionately impacted people of color The path forward starts with the willingness of all, as you have said, to join together to seek understanding and then act And so with that, we are planning several events to help us to begin to unpack this We are having on this Thursday on June the 4th at 5 PM a dialogue on race and its impact on people of color This is being sponsored by the Center for Equity Justice and Inclusion and the Office of the Provost, because we understand that it is important for us to reach across campus and into the community to bring people together to talk about this The panel is going to provide a space for healing, understanding, and awareness, giving an opportunity to discuss the larger national questions of what’s happening in America and how did we get here and where do we go from here So we have as some very, very important faculty and our staff and community people important in terms of their passion for this work and important in terms of their knowledge around these issues to join us on this Thursday via Zoom In addition, as I said, this is one opportunity out of many that we will provide for our campus and broader community to discuss these issues We understand, again, that it’s important that we speak, that we talk, and that we are standing for one another In addition to that, we have already planned to do other programming virtually and, of course, when we get back to campus We will be rolling out a very robust program in terms of professional development for our faculty, and our staff, and students as we began to unpack these issues and other issues that impact people across our campus and community We understand that it is our role to prepare our students to have the skill set

to function in a diverse community and workplace And so we invite, again, everyone to join us on this Thursday, June 4th at 5 PM for our dialogue on race and its impact on people of color Thank you, Joan Again, I want to encourage all of you to participate in this program starting this Thursday at 5:00 PM Now, we received a lot of questions for this town hall meeting And those questions guided this in preparing this presentation So let’s get started And I hope we get to the answer to your question Thank you all for sending in your questions Some of you, first of all, have asked if we are making progress in the investigation of the racist graffiti incidents that happened in Fulton Hall and Henson Hall last fall semester and then again in February You will recall that I announced in February that our SU Police Department had identified a suspect in the case and that the matter was being referred to the state’s attorney’s office for possible prosecution In the months since then, SU PD has been working tirelessly with the FBI, with prosecutors, and with other law enforcement agency to develop the lines of evidence in this case That process is now drawing to a close And while the matter is still in the hands of law enforcement, I’m confident that we’ll be getting an update about this very soon I just ask for your continued patience and understanding We haven’t forgotten We’ll never forget And I will communicate more of this as soon as I am able to do so Now I would like to discuss what we have been doing to plan for our return to campus in the fall, because that is the thing that makes me happy First and foremost, all of our planning revolves around what we can do to keep our campus as safe as possible We are an organization of people And the safety of our people comes first So I want to describe for you four levels of operation of the university So the level one is routine campus operations at what we’re calling regular density That’s where we were last fall, normal operations the way that you were used to all along Level two is routine campus operations, but at reduced density And this is our plan for returning to the fall at level two Level three would be the campus is closed to the public, but open to faculty and staff And all courses would be delivered online And level four would be campus closure, online courses, and telework So we went during spring semester from level one all the way down to level four And we want to come back in the fall at level two We are now starting the process of gradually bringing staff and some faculty back to campus over the summer, standing up processes, screening people daily as they come on, implementing, cleaning, and disinfecting protocols Some people will continue to work from home You can see I’m in my home office right now Some people work from home and part-time on campus There’s going to be a variety of different situations for faculty and staff In the fall, we know that it’s possible to guarantee a COVID-free environment, but it is our responsibility to keep our students, faculty, and staff, and their family, and our community as safe as possible And that is what we’re going to do Our COVID-19 task force is comprised of 10 planning groups focused on how to maintain SU’s excellence in this current environment And they are working to ensure a smooth transition back to campus Now we’ve received a lot of questions about what fall instruction might look like And I can tell you this has been really central to our planning for how to get back to campus on the fall Our focus will be on reducing the density within face-to-face classes And we must always anticipate the possibility that we may need to return to remote instruction at any time I want to stress this, we need the cooperation of everyone on our campus to make this plan work It is only by implementing strict and effective protocols

for preventing the spread of COVID that this plan can work If do this halfheartedly, we’ll experience a resurgence of the disease And we’ll be forced to fall back to level three or level four online instruction And that’s not what we want to happen So we’re going for level two And we need everyone to be all in on it Now we’re calling the plan SU Learn Depending on the courses, many faculty will be taking– we’ll be making more of their content available to students online Your teams and chairs, we’ll be working on this over the next several weeks as we have a better handle on enrollments and how we can most effectively use a campus space and instructional time Our facilities team has been working around the clock to get creative with classroom, labs, studio, and testing spaces all around the campus to control the spread of the virus All the classrooms will be densified as much as possible Students and faculty who do not want to come in-person will have the option to remain at home or in their residence hall for the lecture or class activity We’re also working closely with our partners on your clinical placements internships and other experiential activities Now I know that many of you are wondering about your housing situation, dining, athletics, everything We have asked Dr. Dane Foust, vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management to join us to provide some information on those matters Dane, I turn it over to you Dr. White, thank you very much I appreciate the opportunity to be here And before I get started, I also want to say thank you to Dr White and Joan Williams for the stance that they’re taking by regard to the George Floyd situation and the tragedy that’s occurred I on Saturday was at the demonstration at the protest on Route 13 And I saw a number of our faculty, staff, and students there And I have to say it was really wonderful to see their passion and their commitment and their standing up for what is right So thank you In regard to housing, we’ve been working really, really hard to figure out what our plan is going to be We’re going to be closely monitoring the state of Maryland, the University System of Maryland, the CDC, and the local health department’s guidance, and the recommendations as it relates to social distancing, sanitizing, maintaining the health and safety of our residents, and of our staff Our creative housing model that will limit the number of on-campus beds that we offer, we understand that by the campus limiting our residential occupancy, we may be requesting the students move off campus and into living environments that are somewhat less closely monitored by staff as it relates to sanitation and social distancing So we’re working really hard right now to try to balance these competing concerns in a manner where student safety is primary to what we do Part of that will be reaching out to the off-campus housing providers to offer guidance and support for them so that they too are maintaining a safe occupancy for their populations as well Some of the more specific initiatives that we’re looking at right now are providing single accommodations on a space-by-space basis for students that request a single And that will help densify the campus We’re also considering using Care’s money that we have available for any student that may be financially unable to afford a single but would be requesting a single So we’re going to be looking into the financial need for those students We’re also looking at suspending the first year and second year residency requirement for students, thus making on-campus living an optional experience for this fall We’re looking at releasing students from their housing contracts if they would request to be released from their housing contracts And we’re also encouraging our students if they live within commuting distance to consider commuting from home, rather than living on campus And we’ve had some conversations with some off-campus providers that have additional space in their facilities about possibly leasing that space to be able to offer more single accommodations for students and if necessary, reaching out to local hotels to see if we would need to lease space from them, if that would be something we would want to do As we’re looking at that, we’re also looking to set aside space on campus, most likely in Dollywood Village for students who may need to be isolated, pending the results of a COVID test, or if they’ve been potentially exposed to an individual with COVID, providing space for them

in a different kind of location for them We’re also looking to set aside space for students who may test positive with COVID, but are unable to return home So we’re looking to set aside space for those cohorts as well And from our policy and procedures perspective, we’re looking at the policies and procedures we currently have in the residence halls to be able to maintain a health healthy and safe environment And this could include or would include limiting access to elevators We limit the number of people that are on an elevator at any given time, also limiting access to public areas, such as laundry facilities and residence hall bathrooms, lounges, again so we can make sure that we’re maintaining social distance We probably at this point, we’d be closing off our exercise areas, at least, temporarily And then we would also be reassessing our visitation rules, both our overnight visitation, as well as episodic visits to the residence halls And then, obviously, we’re working with our maintenance people to take a look at how we’re cleaning facilities, how we’re disinfecting, and how we’re maintaining the appropriate sanitation that’s necessary Furthermore, from a dining hall perspective, we’re also looking to dedensify our dining areas So setting up programs to make sure that we maintain the appropriate distance in the dining areas, also looking at utilizing food delivery systems that may include an app where we deliver food, rather than students coming to pick up food And again, we’re looking at sanitizing and how we’re maintaining safety as well One other area, Mr President, I wanted to mention is looking at the return of athletes We anticipate athletes returning and having athletics up and running for the fall semester We’re looking at potentially limiting in-person attendance at athletic events, but enhancing our streaming activities as well and making sure that we stay very attuned to the NCAA and what the NCAA is expecting of us So the plans right now that we have in place, particularly for residence hall We’re excited to be opening We’re excited to have our students back We will make sure that we do it in a safe and secure kind of way Thank you, Dane You can see that there are many, many moving parts to this plan It’s quite detailed, it’s fluid, and it’s flexible But it is all being done in anticipation of resuming in person, face-to-face instruction in the fall at level two at reduced density So I am really looking forward to having everybody back on campus in the fall Now, it’s true that this virus impacts us all But we have to recognize that the added burden that it places on those who are older or may have compromised immune systems or are otherwise more vulnerable to the ravages of the COVID-19 disease The virus also imposes additional challenges for those of us who are at home trying to teach, work, or learn while taking care of loved ones or children or those who have fewer financial resources or simply don’t have the proper access to internet and technology We want to hear from you if you have any of these challenges, and we are prepared to help Our planning is informed by the best practices across higher education and the University System of Maryland But it is also informed by keeping you in mind, so that’s why we need to hear from you In addition to the technology support that we’re providing, we’re also working with our regional partners in trying to identify resources for the current lack of child care availability This is really important for students who are parents and also faculty and staff who are parents Mental health– mental health is so important, particularly in these uncertain times And we’re encouraging students to reach out to the Counseling Center, which continues to provide virtual services for students who are not on campus I also authorized the search for an assistant director of the Counseling Center, even as the rest of the university is maintaining a pause on hiring We had outside auditors come in to examine our practices in the Counseling Center and our staffing And we received an affirming audit report from the University System auditors Students are utilizing the new referral system that allows SU to cover their copay if they visit a mental health professional off-campus We will continue to monitor usage patterns and waiting lists in the Counseling Center and adjust staffing accordingly Finally, I want to applaud the Counseling Center team,

as they did such a fantastic job of quickly adapting to a virtual delivery model Once we went online, the Counseling Center implemented new outreach groups to [INAUDIBLE] on a sense of belonging and help to maintain our connectedness The Counseling Center will continue to offer services virtually, even as we return to campus, in accordance with the best practices for health and safety We’re also providing mental health resources for our faculty and staff, when it’s needed That information is in our Return to Campus guide, and it’s available on the SU website We also know that there are lots of questions about what we’re doing to keep the campus clean and safe Much of that information is online But we’re also working on trainings and resources to help you keep safe, both on campus and in your daily lives Now, I’ve asked Vicky Lentz, the director of our Student Health Services to talk to us a little bit more about student health Vicky? Thank you, Dr White for including me in this town hall meeting So, again, my name is Vicky Lentz, and I’m a nurse practitioner I’m also the director of the Student Health Services I’ve had a long career in college health and years of experience in illnesses and diseases that affect college students COVID-19 has led to many challenges At Salisbury University, we’ve had an amazing team response in dealing with this pandemic Our environmental services department is busy at work ensuring that CDC-appropriate cleaners and disinfectants are being used to clean our buildings We are preparing our offices and obtaining the necessary PPE, or personal protective equipment We have the safety of the entire Salisbury community as our top priority We are dedensifying areas on campus to limit the number of day-to-day interactions As Dr. White said, we are setting up educational trainings and information for the campus We are committed to communicating with the campus important information and updates To assist us when students return to campus, please make sure that they have had all the required vaccines When this season’s influenza vaccine is available, please get it Bring a thermometer and some over-the-counter medications with you Be prepared If it is determined that masks must be worn, please bring enough so that you can wear a clean mask every day The mask is worn to prevent an asymptomatic person from spreading COVID-19 And wearing a dirty mask is not useful and can lead to other problems for the wearer Our office is preparing to be able to diagnose COVID-19 in the office setting We do not have testing materials today, but we will work diligently over the next few weeks to have the appropriate resources We can already diagnose in our health center illnesses such as strep, mono, and influenza We will be screening students that are seeking care to enter the Student Health Center at each visit We will continue to provide telehealth appointments for students that do not need to be seen in person We want to be able to limit the number of students in our office at [INAUDIBLE] that are all in there at the same time And we will do our best to limit the interactions of our patients with respiratory illnesses with those students seeking care for preventative services or well visits If a student is diagnosed with COVID-19, they will be recommended to go home to recuperate As Dr. Fowl said, we will provide special housing where they can be isolated, and we will continue to provide health and food resources until they are able to make arrangements to leave campus We will then be contacting the Wicomico County Department, who will take the lead in contact tracing Salisbury University [INAUDIBLE] by providing residence hall information, if the student lives on campus, and class schedules Students that are identified as contacts of a positive case will need to self-quarantine for 14 days And we will have a special residence hall and space for that to happen And, as Dr. White said, we are already planning on a hybrid approach for classes so that students in quarantine will still be able to keep up with their coursework Remember, we all need to do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-10 We will do our best, but we are counting on our students to do their part by washing their hands as much as possible, using hand sanitizer if soap and water and not available, wearing a mask in public, and not attending class or going to work if you are sick Again, thank you for letting me talk to you at this time Dr. White? Thank you, Vicky Now, Vicky has been working with our University Medical

Director, Dr. Michael Murphy, to ensure our entire campus has the resources that they need So we will have PPE If you forget your mask when you come to campus, we will have a spare one for you I think everyone right now has their favorite mask– their own favorite mask I have my maroon and gold mask Be sure to keep it clean But we will take care of you when you come to campus Dr. Murphy will be available not just to students, but also to faculty and staff who have questions or need more information as we return to campus These services will be available to anyone in our campus community, but we want to give particular encouragement to those who might not have health insurance or a primary care provider We’re going to try to take care of everybody Now, before I move on to our budget situation, I just want to emphasize, again, that our plan is to come back to campus for fall semester at what we’re calling level 2, which is routine operations but at reduced density And I just want to emphasize that the academic calendar is going to be unchanged We’ll start at the usual scheduled time, and we will end the fall semester at the usual scheduled time And the commencement activities are still tentatively scheduled for December 18 through 20 So, turning now to the budget, I know that many of you have heard about the state’s pretty grim fiscal picture And we’ve heard from a number of faculty and staff wanting to know how budget cuts will affect furloughs and layoffs And, first, I want you to know that we are looking in every nook and cranny for financial resources before we make any adverse decisions about personnel– before we make any decisions about furloughs or layoffs With that said, we’ve already had to make some difficult decisions, as it relates to some contract renewals and vacancies at the university We value our people, and I believe that it’s important that if we’re going to make difficult decisions, they have as much time to plan and prepare as possible The truth is that we still don’t have a full budget picture yet The state doesn’t have a full picture yet, the University System of Maryland doesn’t have a full picture yet, and we don’t have a full picture yet But when we do, or at least when we have a provisional picture, each divisional vice president will hold smaller meetings and town halls to give you details and the opportunity to ask more specific questions in your particular division of the university You will also have the opportunity to hear more specifically how COVID-19 operations will affect your areas I want to thank all of our faculty and staff In May, all of you were named the employee of the month because of the exemplary way in which you adapted and helped us to continue service to our students through the most unusual of times I applaud you [CLAPPING] I do So we are continuing to plan and communicate with you throughout the summer We are putting this plan into place gradually We are learning how to be flexible and how to adapt to different kinds of circumstances as they arise We are going to send out some additional Q&As this week And please don’t hesitate to send any additional questions to our stay informed email address Thank you, Joan Williams, thank you, Dane Foust, thank you, Vicky Lentz for sharing your expertise with us this evening And thank you all for attending, and remember to visit the website for additional information Be healthy, everybody And be safe