November 2, 2020
To: College of Arts and Sciences students and families
From: Donna Eddleman, University Dean of Student Affairs, and Kendrick Brown, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
Subject: Spring Semester
As we wrote on October 14, the University submitted a COVID-19 prevention plan to the County of San Bernardino, with a proposal to welcome College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) students back onto the Redlands campus with reduced density in residence halls and classrooms, as well as safety procedures that include face coverings, physical distancing, handwashing, disinfecting of spaces, etc. We are pleased to report the County [processed] this proposal with only minor changes.
While we need to acknowledge that many factors are out of our control and we may need to adjust our approach, we would like to share our provisional plans for beginning to reopen the Redlands campus in the spring.
The CAS spring semester will begin on Tuesday, January 19 (as planned) with instruction ending on Wednesday, April 21 and final exams ending on Tuesday, April 27. Spring Break is canceled to discourage travel and limit the spread of COVID-19; however, two recommended Study Days on Tuesday, March 9 and Wednesday, March 17 have been included in the calendar to provide a break for students. CAS commencement remains scheduled for Friday, April 30.
CAS course modalities for the spring currently include online, in-person, and hybrid modalities. Note all classes will begin with a virtual component to accommodate entry quarantine (separation from others and restriction of movements) and testing requirements (below); in-person instruction can begin Mon., Feb. 1. Any in-person instruction for spring 2021 must abide by the University’s COVID-19 community health precautions. This means all students and faculty must follow physical distancing mandates and wear face coverings during an entire class period. Also, wipes will be available for faculty and students to sanitize their spaces before a class begins.
Graduate students enrolled in the CAS programs of Communication Sciences and Disorders, M.S. in Geographic Information Science, and School of Music will receive communication from their programs with further detail regarding modes of instruction for the spring 2021 semester.
Students are not required to reside on campus for the spring semester; however, the University will offer only single-occupancy rooms for undergraduate students who wish to live on campus (at the double-occupancy rate). Students who will be living on campus will move in at predefined, staggered times to control traffic in and out of buildings and promote physical distancing. Greek houses have been designated as possible quarantine/isolation locations, and are therefore unavailable for occupancy this spring. Residence Life and Housing staff will contact undergraduate students in early November to coordinate their on or off-campus housing plans for the semester.
At the start of the fall semester, Student Affairs communicated with students that it is imperative for them to understand the need to comply with the behaviors outlined in the student COVID-19 Safety Pledge and Expectations document. The same holds true for the spring semester. An updated pledge document will be shared with students prior to the start of the spring semester. Students will be required to complete online training modules and return a signed commitment to conduct themselves as outlined in the pledge prior to the start of the semester. Failure to align with these published expectations, as well as those implemented in response to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), county, or state guidance, can result in student judicial sanctions, to include suspension from the University.
The goal is for students to be COVID-negative upon arrival to campus. To accomplish this, as is common at many institutions of higher education, all CAS students who will be living on campus or taking in-person classes will be asked to quarantine for 14 days before arrival.
In addition, students are strongly encouraged to get a flu shot to protect the campus community, reduce demands on health care facilities, and decrease illnesses that cannot be readily distinguished from COVID-19 and would therefore trigger public health measures.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not endorsed any specific approach to testing for institutions of higher education, it recognizes entry testing as one strategy to reduce COVID-19 transmission (see the “Select examples of testing strategies some IHEs are implementing” section of the CDC Testing, Screening, and Outbreak Response for Institutions of Higher Education webpage). The University of Redlands will adopt this strategy for CAS students, providing diagnostic testing for all CAS residential and commuter spring 2021 students at the beginning of the semester. Residential students should come to campus prepared to quarantine for a period estimated at five to seven days, which will include a COVID-19 diagnostic test and delivery of the test result. This testing will be required of all students who will be on the Redlands campus at any time during the semester, including those who live off-campus but who plan to attend in-person classes or visit campus for any other reason. During the period from move-in to the delivery of a negative COVID-19 test result, residential students will quarantine in their rooms (arrangements will be made for meals); during the same period, commuter students will quarantine at home. All classes will be remote until Mon., Feb. 1 to accommodate this mandate.
Those students testing positive will isolate (separate themselves from others) until public health guidelines indicate they can safely return to broader campus life. The University will provide accommodations for residential students to isolate on campus in rooms that have been reserved for this purpose; commuter students should be prepared to isolate in their off-campus residence. A full description of quarantine and isolation procedures will be included in the University’s COVID-19 Operations Plan.
The logistics of this testing strategy are currently under development. We anticipate sharing details with the University community prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.
In addition to student entry testing and hand-in-hand with CDC-recommended mitigation practices such as face coverings, physical distancing, hand washing, and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, the University will take a targeted approach to testing throughout the semester.
The University will focus on the groups the CDC has identified as the highest priority for testing at institutions of higher education: symptomatic individuals and those who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 (see the “Hierarchy for selection of persons for IHE-based testing” section of the CDC Testing, Screening, and Outbreak Response for Institutions of Higher Education webpage). A reporting form will be used to help gather and track information about symptomatic individuals. The University’s team of certified contact tracers and/or notifications from the County of San Bernardino will help identify members of the U of R community who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
In accordance with National Collegiate Athletic Association protocols and San Bernardino County Department of Public Health guidance, student-athletes should expect to be routinely tested throughout the semester.
Like all individuals on campus, employees on all of our campuses are required to contribute to the safety of the community as a whole. As described in the Interim COVID-19 Policies for All Employees:
Community members can report COVID-19 prevention compliance issues by using a Communication Record form, contacting Public Safety by phone at 909-748-8888, or texting the keyword TIP UOFR to 888777.
All known or suspected COVID-19 illnesses, exposures, or potential symptoms should be reported to the University so appropriate public health measures can be taken. Students, faculty, and staff/administrators should use this reporting form if they experience symptoms of COVID-19, such as flu-like symptoms, respiratory symptoms, or unexplained fever (see the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention symptom list). This reporting is an important part of containing the spread of COVID-19.
The University has a team of more than 15 certified contact tracers who have completed the Coursera course developed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. They will be deployed to identify people with COVID-19 and those with whom infected individuals have come in contact. Contact tracers will also work with these individuals to help interrupt disease spread, requesting isolation and self-quarantine as necessary according to public health guidelines. Public Safety has created a template for U of R contact tracers to use to ensure consistency in the contact tracing process. Assistance is available for Spanish-speakers.
Thank you for your attention, and we hope to see some of you in the spring semester!