Although the past four months feel like four years, our campus will start seeing students arrive in the next week. As excited as we are for their return, this year brings heightened anxiety. It is important that we provide an on-campus college experience, although it will be a much different one to start the year.
I cannot adequately thank you for the increase in outreach and the extra effort the Penn campus displayed throughout the past several months as we focused on our students and our future. I believe in future years, this period will prove pivotal for William Penn.
We have completed our Return to Campus plan that include the steps of Prepare, Monitor and Adjust. This was written for our students but any additional updates will be sent to employees from Human Resources or supervisors. The steps and responsibilities in the Return to Campus plan are relevant to all of us. It is the culmination of weeks of work, discussion and collaboration with county health officials, countless Zoom meetings with other institutions, and each other. You have all worked tirelessly these past few months to allow us to navigate the coming academic year. Thank you for that work.
However, there is no preparation that can remove all risk. This strategy gives us the confidence to welcome our Penn family to Oskaloosa. The three items mentioned above (Prepare, Monitor, Adjust) are fundamental for success. However, for this approach to work, it demands the participation and cooperation from all of us, students and employees alike.
Here are a few of the main features of the plan that I would like to make mention of:
Please take some time to read and understand the plan. Visit https://www.wmpenn.edu/coronavirus and click on Return to Campus Plan.
I understand that emotion is inherent in any action step that is implemented. Some of us will be in full agreement and happy with these steps. Others of us will have opposite emotions. I however need to stress that it is imperative for the success of Penn for us to follow these steps. I state this regarding face coverings particularly. This step alone may allow us as individuals not to quarantine if exposed.
We will continue to work closely with our county and state health departments to follow all established guidelines throughout the academic year. We will have at least weekly meetings with Mahaska County Public Health and Mahaska County Emergency Management to help guide any adjustments that are needed.
Again, thank you for all you have done to support students and I’m confident that as a unified institution, we can continue to do so this academic year.