The Student & Employee Wellness Advisory Group makes recommendations to support the physical and emotional wellness of all members of the Knox community as we reopen the College in the fall, with particular attention to factors such as age, pre-existing health conditions, economic and employment status, family responsibilities, and inequalities created by systems of privilege.
Co-chairs: Anne Ehrlich, Vice President for Student Development, and Abby Putnam, Director of Health Services
Members: Amy Chambers, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources; Ben Farrer, Environmental Studies, Daniella Irle, Director of Athletics; Deb Southern Dean of Students (will coordinate student sub-group)
Students living in on-campus housing are permitted to have overnight guests/visitors (one at a time), as long as those guests/visitors are students currently taking classes on campus. Overnight guests/visitors are limited to students taking on campus classes because those people are participating in our campus testing protocol and symptom monitoring program. Non-Knox family members/significant others are permitted to visit with prior approval from Campus Life, but may not spend the night.
The group released updated guidelines for planning meetings and events in our current environment. A note to student organizations: Campus Life is currently updating the event registration form. They will let you know when it is ready early next week. Also, please remember that, until September 21, students are in quarantine and cannot participate in in-person events unless an exception has been made by a senior staff member.
Recently you received an update from Amy Chambers, our new assistant vice president of Human Resources. She provided details on the 3-phase plan for reopening the campus to faculty and staff in this period before students return. Phase 1 began earlier this week, and up to 25% of employees can now be on campus, as long as social distance can be maintained.
The group recently finalized a protocol for summer visitors to campus that will soon be communicated and spells out the health and safety measures we are taking between now and the arrival time for students.
The group is currently reviewing plans for the on-campus arrival of students, bringing them back in waves, beginning with athletes, international students, new students, and then other groups in succession. These dates will be shared on or around July 15.
Guidelines for students’ return to campus in September are also being finalized. The group is collaborating with local public health officials and closely following the mandates from the state of Illinois. Our highest priority is keeping our Knox community as safe as possible. The plans for students’ return include testing upon arrival and at key points thereafter, symptom tracking, quarantine and isolation protocols, contact tracing, mask requirements, and social distancing. These protocols will be finalized by August 1.
The group is beginning to draft and review with stakeholders a community-wide pledge in which students, faculty and staff affirm their commitment to a shared responsibility for keeping our community safe. This will be completed by early August.
This group will review plans for a safe return to athletics activity, working in concert with the Midwest Conference and the NCAA. I n the next few weeks, we anticipate that the MWC will release new schedules for competition that provide opportunities for contests while limiting the amount of travel. Included in the release will be protocols for keeping student athletes safe and healthy, including cancelling contests and practices when situations require.
Educational Delivery Advisory Group
The Educational Delivery Advisory Group coordinates the work of the three subgroups listed below, along with other offices tasked with delivering the educational experience. It considers the impact of residency and space restrictions on curricular and co-curricular programming and makes recommendations on the prioritization of those programs.
Co-chairs: Executive Committee co-chairs: Mike Schneider, Provost and Dean of the College, and Jonathan Powers, Economics and Executive Committee
Members: Executive Committee (Mark Shroyer, Physics, Jennifer Templeton, Biology, Liz Carlin Metz, Theatre, Katie Stewart, Political Science, Anne Ehrlich, Emily Schroeder, Mujtaba Hassan, Daniella Irle, Steve Hall
Subgroup 1: Academic Continuity Advisory Group
Charge: This group provides recommendations to help ensure that we have the ability to deliver courses and academic programs of high quality while navigating the uncertain educational landscape we will encounter in 2020-2021.
Co-chairs: Mark Shroyer, Physics and Executive Committee, and Mike Schneider
Subgroup 2: Instructional Development Advisory Group
This group provides recommendations for workshops and instructional resources addressing the variety of in-person and remote instruction scenarios instructors will face in the unique learning environment in the 2020-21 academic year.
Co-chairs: Jennifer Templeton, Biology and Executive Committee, Steve Hall, Vice President for Information Technology Services
Members: Danielle Fatkin Associate Dean; Todd Heidt, German; Deirdre Dougherty, Educational Studies; Emily Frakes, Director of User Services
Subgroup 3: Educational Experience Advisory Group
This group assesses our capacity to deliver student support services in multiple learning environments. It also develops recommendations for optimizing students’ ability to fully engage with the curricular and co-curricular program.
Co-chairs: Jonathan Powers, Economics and Executive Committee, and Anne Ehrlich
Members: Tim Foster, Associate Dean, Janell McGruder, Assistant Dean for Student Wellness, Ben Farrer, Environmental Studies, Gabe Raley, Anthropology-Sociology, Jaime Spacco, Computer Science, Jim Thrall, Religious Studies
Noting that many colleges are now adopting versions of our traditional 10-week schedule, the Academic Continuity subgroup recommended that we retain our current start and end dates. This recommendation was accepted by the Steering Committee, so classes will begin on September 14 and conclude before Thanksgiving as usual.
Members of this group are coordinating with facilities to complete an inventory of all classrooms, offices, and meeting spaces. This will help us formulate occupancy guidelines for the fall.
The group is in the process of creating an expedited process for faculty who need to request accommodations for the fall, including requests to teach remotely rather than return to in-person teaching. We anticipate publication of this process and request forms in two to three weeks.
The Educational Delivery subgroup recently invited all faculty to participate in question and answer sessions to discuss preparations for delivery of the academic program in the fall. The sessions will also provide faculty with information about the initial decisions that have been made.
The group has adopted Zoom, Moodle, and Google Classroom as standards for use in delivering fall classes with demos of new software and hardware being considered for fall term adoption underway.
Facilities Advisory Group
The Facilities Advisory Group develops the plans, protocols, and methodologies to support the safe repopulation of the campus for residential, educational, and business operations. The group also makes recommendations for acquiring additional facilities as necessary. The plans, protocols and recommendations formulated by the group give consideration to long-term sustainability issues that may provide opportunities to conserve resources and reduce waste and utility usage.
Co-chairs: Paul Eisenmenger, Vice President for Finance, and Debbie Steinberg, Director of Sustainability Initiatives
Members: Mike Schneider, Steve Hall, Anne Ehrlich, Eleanor Kahn, Scott Maust, Doug Stenfedlt, Becky Hale, Jerry Miner, Scott Sunderland, Nate Kemp, Jim Dyer, and Michael Godsil
The Facilities group has completed an inventory of administrative office spaces to determine the health and safety needs of the various spaces. In the next few days, the inventory of classrooms and meeting spaces will be complete. Once the inventories are complete, recommendations for occupancy limits will be determined and published by the third week of July, along with signage to help inform the campus community. In light of the recommendations for outdoor meetings, the group is also exploring rental of tents to help supplement existing spaces on campus.
Other decisions that are anticipated in the coming weeks include health and safety protocols for dining services and residence halls and cleaning protocols for all office and meeting spaces. The group is purchasing supplies to be positioned in spaces for individuals to use to clean surfaces as they enter new spaces.
Finance and Legal Considerations Advisory Group
The Financial and Legal Considerations Advisory Group assesses the financial impact of reopening decisions proposed by Groups 1, 2, and 3 and projects the impact on the FY21 operating budget, exercises oversight of the $664,000 in federal assistance received by the College to offset COVID-19 related expenses, and considers any legal or insurance-related implications of reopening to mitigate potential risks.
Co-chairs: Paul Eisenmenger, Vice President for Finance, and Teresa Amott, President
Members: Sara King, Jan Wolbers, Vicky Jones, Angela Clary, Rich Stout, and Rebecca Yowler
This group will review and quantify the expenses associated with safely reopening the College in a COVID-19 environment and will factor these required costs into the FY21 budget to help us plan for the future. Their work is ongoing on a daily basis, and will include a report to the Board of Trustees at its August meeting.