We are actively preparing to reopen campus for in-person instruction this fall. In order to do this as safely as possible we will be implementing plans for a gradual return to campus over the next few months. Additional details will be available soon, but in the meantime we want to share our collaborative process for making important decisions about our operations. We are thankful for the many individuals across campus who are working together to ensure the health and safety of our university community.
In recent weeks, two groups have been formed to facilitate planning for bringing employees and eventually students back to campus—the Pandemic Response Team and the Continuity of Instruction Task Force. The Pandemic Response Team is organizing and directing the formal processes being developed for key areas of campus including residence life, operations and planning, health and safety, academic affairs, athletics and finance. This group brings together leaders from across the university to focus on ensuring a safe return to residential life and on-campus instruction. Based on the recommendations of this team and ongoing guidance from public health authorities, we will gradually bring faculty and staff back onto campus over the summer. We plan for students to return as scheduled in August.
The Continuity of Instruction Task Force is developing operational plans for continued instruction in the didactic and experiential settings amid the pandemic. They also are creating a scenario analysis based on emerging progression models for COVID-19 and developing plans for the various scenarios. The task force includes representatives from academic affairs and all 10 schools as well as students, parents, business and financial affairs and external advisors. Their work aims to ensure the university will continue to uphold the highest academic standards despite the challenges presented by this pandemic.
These two groups are critical in our efforts to develop instructional and operational strategies for the fall semester. The work of these groups will form the university’s comprehensive plan. This work is developing quickly and as specifics are finalized we will share regular updates with you. It is important to note that all plans developed are highly contingent on the progression of COVID-19 in our area, as well as continued local, state and federal guidance. We are constantly monitoring the situation and making adjustments as needed to safeguard our Samford community. We appreciate your continued adaptability and support as we navigate this evolving environment.
We look forward to returning to campus life soon.
J. Michael Hardin, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Quantitative Analysis and Biostatistics