Dear Fontbonne Community,
As we approach the start of the spring academic semester and the return of students to campus, I want to remind every one of the current state of operations on campus regarding COVID-19 protocols. We continue to be under the St. Louis County Department of Public Health guidance to mitigate transmission on our campus and in our local community. That department continues to stress the importance of wearing a mask, following quarantine/isolation guidelines, and limiting social interaction. Social distancing and increased levels of cleaning/sanitation remain important. These were standard for us during the fall semester and remain in place for the spring semester.
In mid-November, in response to a surge of the virus in the community, we moved all classes to a remote format for the remainder of the fall semester and increased some mitigation efforts. Fortunately, there has been some improvement over the break and the positivity rate has come down a bit from the mid-November surge, although it continues to fluctuate and remains high overall. In addition to the foundational mitigation efforts mentioned in the opening paragraph above, the following additional efforts will be in effect for the spring semester:
- Classes will return to both on-site and remote modalities. The occurrence of on-site classes will remain fairly similar to what occurred in the fall.
- The academic calendar for the spring semester was slightly revised. Refer to the Registrar’s website for changes to the calendar that were announced last semester for the spring 2021 semester. Besides starting a week later, on January 19th, the traditional spring break was eliminated and a couple three-day weekends were added. See https://www.fontbonne.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/SP21-Modified-Calendar.1.pdf
- Screening for symptoms via the Campus Clear app (students) and the Protect Well app (employees) will continue but with added check points occurring in classrooms, at dining venues and at campus events. Please be ready to show your green check mark at these venues.
- The Ryan Dining Hall will continue to serve food in the “to go” format, although some limited seating will be available and socially distanced.
- The DSAC Griffin Grill will serve food exclusively in the “to go” format.
- Offices will fully re-open on January 19th, with most being open on-site but with some services remaining remote or a mix of both.
- Campus events where more than 30 people could attend must first be approved by the appropriate Vice President and the COVID-19 Planning and Coordination Team.
- Residence Halls will be fully open on January 18 but will continue with reduced density and all other applicable mitigation rules that applied during the fall semester, including the restriction on outside guests. Further information will be communicated via the Department of Residential Life.
- The Athletic Department will continue to operate under specific guidelines for practices and for competitions that will begin in early February, with added testing and monitoring as required by the NCAA and conference guidelines.
- If a student, continue to monitor your health and report any COVID-19 symptoms/illness to Carla Hagan, the Campus Nurse, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (314) 889-4784. Employees should report to Linda Pipitone in Human Resources at email@example.com or at (314) 889-1493.
- The Counseling and Wellness Office is available to students who may be feeling stressed or anxious during these trying times. Counseling sessions are available to current Fontbonne students via teletherapy. Sessions are by appointment only and can be made by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone to the Director of Counseling and Wellness, Therese Jacques, at 314-889-1434. Employees who may need such services can access the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which is free to all employees and family members. Contact Human Resources if you are having trouble accessing this important service.
As we enter the spring semester, we will continue to monitor the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and the State of Missouri for any updates as to when we can expect the availability of vaccines for our campus populations. While the thought of vaccines is encouraging, their actual distribution to the general public is not scheduled until later in the spring semester at best. It is important that we remain vigilant with our mitigation efforts.
Although the focus of this letter has been on COVID-19, I am keenly aware of the other crisis that occurred a few days ago when the Capitol Building in Washington was invaded. As an institution of Catholic higher education and one founded on the values of the Sisters of St. Joseph, let us pray for those injured during that occurrence, let us pray for peace in our country, and let us renew our commitment to the common good and care for the dear neighbor.
Please continue to monitor your Fontbonne email and the Griffin Return section of the Fontbonne website for any further updates on our COVID-19 response.
Vice President for Student Affairs