The president of my university has sent down a message to all the branch campuses. Mine gets some special love.
For Crookston and Morris:
Move-in for University housing in Crookston will continue as scheduled, and on-campus Morris students should remain on campus. Classes on both campuses will proceed as scheduled. Our approach is different here because of timing and because both campuses operate in communities where reported case numbers are lower than in other areas of Minnesota. We also believe the likelihood of widespread disease transmission to be lower on both campuses compared to our other campuses that have higher campus and community densities and more consistent traffic in and out of campus areas. Both campuses continue to work closely with our Health Emergency Response Office (HERO) and local and state public health officials. We are closely monitoring the situation with Chancellors Holz-Clause and Behr, and will continue to revisit our plans daily and consider any necessary adjustments to protect the health and safety of these campuses. Watch your email closely for updates from your Chancellor.
We opened first, so the word is to just continue as we are with no adjustments. Isn’t that nice? They also promise to watch us guinea pigs closely — if we start dropping dead, they’ll change their policy. Very reassuring.
For the other campuses, though, she announces a “pivot” (there’s a word that has been wearing out its welcome.)
For Duluth, Rochester, and the Twin Cities:
Move-in dates for University housing on all three campuses are postponed for at least two weeks to provide additional time to evaluate new and emerging federal testing guidance, as well as continued evaluation of techniques used to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This window helps us avoid moving large numbers of students into on-campus housing and then moving them out again if public health conditions eventually require distance learning for the remainder of the fall semester. Students who plan to live in University residence halls or apartments will soon receive more information from the relevant office on your campus.
If University housing is your safest and best option, or if you are an international student with no other housing option, we will work with you to ensure you have a place to stay on campus. Duluth, Rochester, and Twin Cities housing will remain open to students facing these challenges, much as it has for a small number of students during the spring and summer terms. Students should contact the housing office on their campus with concerns.
Undergraduate courses for all three campuses will proceed as scheduled, but will be wholly online for *at least* two weeks with some limited exceptions. Prior to the start of the semester, students will be informed by their professors about how courses will change, if at all. After the Regents meeting next week, please contact your advisor or student success coach if you have questions or concerns about your schedule.
Oh. So they’re sensibly backing away from their plan to open classes for in-person instruction…but while leaving my campus dangling. They’re tentatively planning to open up again after two weeks, if all goes well. I guess if they hear screams and moans from Western Minnesota, they’ll scrub that plan, too.
Meanwhile, here in that western community that opened up on Wednesday, I saw a young woman celebrating the first weekend of the school year by buying four pizzas and several liters of Coke. She didn’t look big enough to be eating them all by herself, so she must have brilliantly figured out to eat pizza in a group while wearing a mask.
Nah, I shouldn’t be so cynical. Our students are wise, she was probably just delivering boxes to her friends, and they’ll maintain a responsible distance while eating far apart, and I won’t have to worry about a cluster of cases in two weeks, just when the central campus is looking our way to see if we’re dying yet.