Last March, faced with an emerging pandemic that the world knew little about, we made the decision to close the doors of our beloved Montrose campus and move online. I am pleased to announce that this semester we are ready to begin our long-awaited return! After much patience, diligent preparation, and extensive consultation with top medical experts, we are prepared to resume the classroom components of hyflex classes starting the week of Monday, September 28th. Please note that this is one week later than we originally planned, in order to gain some final data points and give our faculty who have asked to return additional time to train on new classroom technology. As promised, students who wish to remain online will be able to do so, and faculty who opt to teach online for the entire semester may continue in that modality. Students who are unsure if their class is hyflex should consult with their professors. Staff will work with their supervisors to determine whether they will continue virtually or return to campus.
Several key factors are driving this first part of our return. Houston’s numbers have seen steady improvement, our safety protocols and cleaning competencies have been practiced and grown strong, and the current advice of medical experts is that the timing is right for us to reopen our campus in this reduced capacity. For those who are ready and are enrolled in hyflex courses, we will be ready to welcome you starting the week of the 28th. Next week, faculty will discuss with students their plans for returning or continuing online.
Recent surveys showed that the needs of our community demand great flexibility. Many of us are still not ready to return to the classroom, while a great number of others are eager. Our plan allows all things for all people, while taking great measures to reduce the risk of spread. When those who are ready return, we will each need to follow the procedures and policies that have been put in place to help protect us. From temperature checks and surveys when we arrive on campus to limited classroom capacities, wearing masks at all times and keeping physical distance, there is much that will be different. More guidance and reminders on all of these policies will be communicated throughout the coming week.
I look forward to seeing many of you again starting on September 28th, whether in-person or online. We have shown that together we can overcome any and all adversity that comes our way. Guided by faith and reason, and with safety as our top priority, we will continue to carry on the Spirit of St. Thomas as we finish out our Fall semester.