The task force will help determine when and how SU will resume face-to-face learning and residential life in the fall and will evaluate the impact the pandemic has had on the university, the release said.
“The group’s charge is to recommend ways that we can offer our academic and student life program on our residential campus while helping us ensure that students, faculty, staff and campus visitors are healthy and safe,” SU Interim President Dale Knobel said in the release. “I am asking the task force to consider the range of public health procedures and activities that can make it possible for us to learn, teach, work and live on the campus in a way that supports the health of all.”
The university announced March 19 that the remainder of the spring semester would be completed online. The university also postponed its commencement ceremony to Oct. 25.
Faculty and staff will continue to work remotely until at least May 31, the release said.
While the university’s target for reopening campus is Aug. 24, which was the starting date for fall semester classes approved by the administration prior to the pandemic, university officials recognize the continuing uncertainty about a number of factors, including the disease’s spread, the availability of testing and protective equipment, the logistics of implementing safety precautions and the regulations or guidelines set forth by local, state and federal authorities, the release said.
The task force will be responsible for developing and recommending backup plans for the fall, tailored to the needs of the SU community, including transitioning mid-semester to teaching and learning remotely on short notice as it did this spring should it become necessary, the release said.
“I continue to find uplifting the response of the Southwestern community to the demanding circumstances of 2020. We are at our best when we are united in common purpose,” Knobel said in the release.