Well, fall is behind us now and we enter into the season of winter. It came a bit early this year in Minnesota, but nonetheless, the winter landscape brings much beauty in God's creation.
Thank you all for your hard work this week. Today, the College leadership team is meeting with our Board of Trustees to conduct business and provide updates on the strategic direction of the College. With an eye towards the unpredictability of typical scheduling due to COVID, I am pleased to announce a few updates within this letter.
The guidance from MDH and CDC continues to evolve, and with that we are re-examining some of our guidelines, particularly with regard to shields and face coverings. A reminder that face coverings are required in all indoor areas. Face shields alone are not sufficient and should be used together with face coverings. Students needing accommodations should contact the Center for Equal Access and employees should contact Human Resources to seek an exception. Gaiters should be doubled layered to provide the best protection.
Spring Semester Decision
Thank you to the faculty and staff who responded to the survey regarding our spring semester plans. In addition, we consulted with the Student Government Association for their feedback as well. The input provided was very valuable in our decision making process.
We have made the decision to maintain the start and end dates on our academic calendar with a shift to our break dates. Spring semester will begin on January 19, Spring II will begin on March 22 and the last day of the semester will be May 13.
We will not be holding community day or spring break as currently scheduled. Rather, we will be having six days throughout the semester where we will not be holding classes, including Feb. 24 which was scheduled as community day. The additional dates will be shared with the community in the coming weeks after discussion with the Academic Council. Graduate and professional programs may have slightly different calendars based upon their specific requirements and needs. These programs will communicate modifications as necessary to faculty and students.
These dates are meant to provide the much needed respite that spring break typically offers students and faculty, while also working to minimize the impact travel would have on the spread of COVID. The College will be open for business on the days no classes are being held, similar to spring break in non-COVID years.
The College is excited to announce that we will hold our 2020 Fall Commencement on December 19 in a virtual format. All students who graduated in May 2020 and those who will graduate this December will be invited to participate in this ceremony. Due to the continuing rise in COVID cases in many states, we know the safest way to celebrate your accomplishments is through a virtual ceremony. Any student who participates virtually is also welcome to attend and walk in an in-person ceremony as soon as we are able to offer one.
Our past May graduates and current graduating seniors will receive the first of a series of commencement newsletters next week which will contain information about signing up for the ceremony along with other important communications. If you have questions not covered in the newsletter please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see you at the ceremony!
Winter Holiday Closure
As per our annual holiday calendar, the College will be closed on the following days:
December 24, 25, 31 (½ day) and January 1
I am pleased to announce that we will again provide additional bonus days this year for employees:
December 28, 29, 30 and 31 (½ day)
In other words, the College will close on Thursday, December 24 and reopen on Monday January 4. I hope that these bonus days will provide you with the opportunity for well-deserved rest and renewal given the tremendous work everyone has taken on in our new environment. If you work in a role that requires you to be present at some point during that holiday week, please work with your supervisor to arrange for equitable time off before the end of January.
In the last presidential election more than half of college students did not vote. An estimated 48 percent of students voted compared to more than 70 percent of senior citizens - a serious imbalance that ultimately means less attention to the needs of students and their colleges. Had more students voted, they might have changed the outcomes in some of our key swing states. Your vote matters!
The College is hosting showings of the movie "The Social Dilemma" with conversations to follow regarding how it relates to politics on the following dates.
Social Dilemma Showings with talkback sessions to follow: https://css.zoom.us/j/92183510102
Thursday Oct 22, 6pm - Undergraduate students
Thursday Oct 29, 6pm - All Students welcome
St. Cloud Campus
The College's St. Cloud campus newly expanded learning spaces officially opened for students this fall.
The construction project enhanced technology in existing classrooms and added a nursing simulation center with multiple acute care and ambulatory care rooms, break-out rooms for student pre-briefing and post-briefing sessions and a common room for faculty. A new 36-seat classroom is being used for nursing classes as well as our education program and other offerings.
The new space also includes additional nursing skills labs and simulation labs. The flexible high-tech spaces can simulate a variety of care settings, from a home care scenario to a hospital room or clinic, providing rich hands-on learning experiences for students.
We had hoped to hold a grand opening celebration for the new campus space this fall, but have postponed it to a time where we can gather safely. In the meantime we have been able to offer socially distanced tours for our key partners in the St. Cloud area and media such as KNSI.
Please watch for a summary of our Board of Trustees meeting coming early next week.
I hope everyone enjoys their weekend. Stay warm, be well and stay safe!