June 3, 2020 (8:52 am) Central Time
Dear Simpson College Community:
It is a pleasure to join Simpson College as your next President. This message begins my first official update related to the college’s plans for a safe return to campus this fall. As I embark on this journey, I will tell you how impressed I have been with the preparations already in place and the Crisis Management Team’s efforts to move forward – SAFELY. Below I have outlined a few key updates related to COVID-19. In addition, I look forward to interacting with many of you during our two upcoming town halls later this week.
Last, I wish to thank Interim President Bob Lane for his passion and steadfast leadership these past five months. He has successfully navigated the college and established a firm foundation from which I look forward to continuing.
Simpson College Announces COVID-19 Safety Plans
The College’s Crisis Management Team has been working to establish a framework and guidelines for the reopening of campus. Recognizing the fluidity of the situation, the college has adopted the following guidelines. Please note, this information will be made available on the college’s homepage and any changes will be communicated to the entire campus community from the President’s Office. We also recognize you may have questions related to the information below. We ask that all questions be directed to COVIDResponse@simpson.edu where we will work to address them as quickly as possible.
PROPOSED WORKING SAFETY PLAN FOR SIMPSON COLLEGE: COVID-19
RED – Virtual learning and working from home – current status
ORANGE - (Default for the first 2 weeks after all major breaks.) – Practice social distancing by maintaining 6 feet or more from others. No group gatherings of 10 or more outside the classroom. Classroom size needs to operate at 50% of capacity if space restrictions do not allow for 6 feet social distancing. Masks (or appropriately sized face shields) are required when inside all non-residential buildings; this includes private offices when there is more than one person present. Masks (or appropriately sized face shields) are required outside buildings if unable to practice 6 feet social distancing. Masks are recommended for campus housing in public spaces. No more than 6 at a table. Continue to practice good respiratory and hand hygiene. Request for exceptions should be forwarded to CMT. We are requiring all faculty, staff, and students (while present on campus) to be checking and monitoring COVID symptoms daily. We are in the process of building a site in Moodle (online education platform) for community members to check-in daily.
YELLOW – Practice social distancing by maintaining 6 feet or more from others. Group gathering sizes will fluctuate depending upon the Iowa Governor’s proclamation. Classroom size operates at 100% while trying to maintain as much social distancing as possible. Masks (or appropriately sized face shields) are required when inside all non-residential buildings. Individual discretion may be used for masking protocols inside private offices when social distancing can occur. If 6 feet of social distance cannot be maintained in a private office, then masks (or appropriately sized face shields) are required. Masks (or appropriately sized face shields) are required outside buildings if unable to practice social distancing. Masks are recommended for campus housing public spaces. Continue to practice good respiratory and hand hygiene. Request for exceptions should be forwarded to Crisis Management Team. Daily Moodle Check-In required by students, staff, and faculty.
GREEN – When a vaccine is available to campus, or reliable testing becomes more accessible, restrictions will be reevaluated based on the guidelines. We anticipate lifting all physical distancing measures and group gathering restrictions. Continue respiratory and hand hygiene. Mask use at the discretion of students, staff, and faculty. Daily Moodle Check-In required by students, staff, and faculty.
In addition to the categories outlined above, the college has also detailed the considerations for moving from one color to the next. These can be found on the COVID-19 website here: https://simpson.edu/covid19
Upcoming Dates for Faculty & Staff Return to Campus
June 15 – Voluntary return for members of campus
July 6 – 50% return to campus
July 20 – 75% return to campus
August 3 – 100% return to campus
This phased approach for a return to campus will ensure we keep the safety of all as our first consideration. Individual departments and divisions will work to determine implementation of this phased return to work from campus. While the Moodle site is still being built, faculty and staff returning to campus are expected to follow the health guidelines described above. Anyone who is experiencing COVID symptoms or been exposed to someone who is COVID positive should quarantine, as recommended by the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Upcoming Campus Community Town Halls
Simpson College Parent’s Town Hall – Thursday, June 4 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Central
Faculty & Staff Town Hall – Friday, June 5 from 12 noon to 1 p.m.
*Individual Zoom information has been sent for each event.
Connect with Us
We continue to maintain and respond to all questions submitted through our dedicated email address. Please email, COVIDResponse@simpson.edu
Please continue to monitor your emails and check the Simpson College COVID19 webpage for updates.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to Simpson College. We are #ONESimpson.
Marsha Kelliher, President