Dear Community Members,
As we now approach our third year dealing with COVID-19, we remain committed to maintaining a working and learning environment that is as safe as possible for the Viking community. With the continued and rapid rise of COVID-19 cases in our region, a key element to our success involves de-densifying the campus for the remainder of January while minimizing disruption to academic progress and campus operations. This includes a remote start for all spring semester classes through at least January 30, 2022. Decisions beyond this date will be taken in consultation with public health and safety data.
Please know that this decision is not made lightly. We know that most are eager to resume a sense of normalcy. We are, too. But the health and safety of our community must be our top priority. We greatly appreciate the feedback that we have received relative to spring planning.
Spring Semester Classes
All spring semester classes will begin remotely. We currently anticipate that courses with an in-person component will be able to start meeting in-person beginning on Monday, January 31, 2022. Faculty members are asked to be in touch with their students directly through email or Canvas with course specific information. The Provost will contact the faculty with additional details.
Move-in dates for residential students will start as planned on January 16 but will be staggered to reduce the number of students moving in at the same time. The staggered move-in schedule will include opportunities for move-in dates beyond those on the current schedule. Residence life will be in contact with residential students directly by Tuesday, January 11, with details about move-in/testing plans, policy updates, and action.
Please be advised that residential students will be required to provide an isolation or quarantine departure plan prior to move-in. Unless there are extreme circumstances, such departure plans will require residential students that need to isolate or quarantine and live within a 200-mile radius of campus, to leave campus to complete their quarantine or isolation period.
In addition, students should be prepared for the likelihood of grab-and-go dining options, and other service limitations, as we begin the semester.
As shared in previous communications, it is mandated that all community members—students, faculty and staff—receive a vaccine booster within 30 days of becoming eligible, unless you already have an approved exemption for medical or religious reasons. Please note that current CDC guidelines do not excuse vaccinated individuals from quarantine if they have not received their booster and it has been over six months since their second shot of Moderna, five months since their second shot of Pfizer, or two months since their Johnson & Johnson vaccination.
Administrative offices will be moving to primarily remote operations effective immediately through January 30, 2022. This includes in-person student administrative services such as the Center for Academic Excellence and the Student Navigation Center. Area leaders will work with their teams to determine a very limited number of roles that will remain on campus to support our students and ongoing operations. Again, the goal is to greatly reduce the current campus population to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community and to ensure that we are in good health to serve our students when they return to campus.
Please understand that given the rapid transmission rate of the current Omicron variant, community members should be prepared for potential impacts on service levels based on workforce health and resource availability.
Full details regarding what to expect for the spring semester including our current COVID-19 health and safety protocols will be posted to the Salem State website early next week. You can stay tuned here: https://www.salemstate.edu/covid19.
I know this isn’t the way that any of us wanted to begin 2022. Fortunately, our campus has successfully mitigated COVID-19 up until this point. I am hopeful that these strategies will help our campus community get through this surge as safely as possible and that we will be able to return to more normalcy in the near future.
Thank you for your continued support, flexibility, and patience. We will get through this together.
John D. Keenan