As all of you know, we recently concluded one of the most challenging semesters Old Dominion University has ever experienced.
Despite the hardship and uncertainty, faculty and staff adapted and persevered, moving our enterprise online and enabling us to fulfill our vital mission of teaching, research, strategic partnerships and active civic engagement. You accomplished what three months ago seemed impossible, and you didn't stop there.
The significant enhancements to Summer Sessions have resulted in a slight enrollment increase from last year. I am grateful to all of you for making spring and summer a success and for your commitment to reshaping our fall semester to provide both in-person and online instruction.
Last month, I appointed a Steering Committee on Academic and Student Involvement, chaired by Dean Kent Sandstrom, and tasked it with drafting ODU's Blueprint for reopening. Governor Northam has also appointed an Education Work Group, which is charting a path for the reopening of Virginia schools.
We expect to learn more about Virginia's phased approach for reopening within the next week, but the ODU Steering Committee has completed initial guidance on what we expect for the return to on-campus instruction this fall. I want to applaud Dean Sandstrom and his colleagues for their efforts.
The highlights include:
- A fall 2020 academic calendar that allows for on-campus, hybrid and online instruction, starting Aug. 29. After Thanksgiving break, all classes will be delivered online through December 11.
- Reduced density in classrooms, workspaces and buildings to promote physical distancing.
- Procurement of critical equipment and supplis to lessen the risk of transmission on campus.
- Protocols for enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of buildings and facilities.
- COVID-19 testing and tracing.
- To view the Steering Committee's full report, visit odu.edu/blueprint
Campus leaders, in collaboration with faculty and staff, will begin adopting these measures, but we will need everyone's commitment and engagement for a successful fall semester. All of us share the responsibility for keeping our community safe.
Besides the Steering Committee, I wish to thank the Public Health Task Force and the Executive Policy Team for their work preparing ODU's Blueprint for Fall 2020. We will continue to provide regular updates, including any modifications, as conditions may warrant.
In the coming weeks, Human Resources will release guidance on our phased approach for returning to work safely and for continued teleworking. Student Engagement and Enrollment Services will release guidance for students returning to campus, including details on housing, health and counseling support, campus dining, activities and events. SEES will also launch a #ReignResponsibly campaign to promote wellness.
This global crisis has reinforced our resolve and resilience. We don't know when the pandemic will end, but as we continue to adapt to this new way of life, we will strive to build an even stronger Monarch community.
In the meantime, please stay healthy and safe.
John R. Broderick