Fall 2020 Reopening Information

June 11, 2020

Dear students and families,

I hope this email finds you well and that you have enjoyed the start of your summer break. I know there are a lot of questions regarding the upcoming fall semester, so I would like to provide an update on the college’s plans for your safe return to campus. This message outlines the academic calendar we will be following as well as what will be different when you return to campus to ensure the safety of our community.

Academic Calendar

The fall 2020 semester will now begin on Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 7 and classes will continue through the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Nov. 24. Following Thanksgiving break, final exams will be held virtually on Dec. 2 through Dec. 5. In order to accommodate a full semester during this time frame, there will not be any fall recess as previously scheduled the week of Oct. 12. A copy of the fall calendar may be found here. In addition, individual class times will be extended between 10 and 15 minutes to allow for faculty to cover their complete content during the weeks of the semester as outlined. Fall bills reflect the cost of the term as outlined above.

Courses

Besides the academic calendar, what will be different? Inside the classroom, in instances where ordinances on gatherings do not allow an entire class to meet at once, students will be asked to alternate between in-person and Zoom attendance. This hybrid model will ensure that all students can receive face-to-face time with their professors, while also allowing us to accommodate students who may have immune suppressed systems. We will be asking faculty and students to wipe down desks between classes and have already installed canisters in classrooms for this purpose.

Health and Safety Measures

Individuals on campus – whether in the classroom setting or elsewhere – will be asked to wear a cloth mask when unable to maintain a minimum distance of 6-feet from others. All individuals on campus, including faculty, staff, and students, will be asked each day if they have had a temperature in the past 24 hours, been exposed to anyone with COVID-19, or experienced any COVID-19 symptoms. We are currently exploring a number of apps to make this daily screening process efficient and effective for all.

Residence Life

Residential students should watch for communication from the department of residential education in the coming weeks as they work with students to identify their best possible housing assignments for the fall. The college plans to maximize the use of single and large double rooms, as well as its apartments and houses, in order to provide the most spacious housing options for students. Resident assistants will also work with students to implement schedules for the use of shared bathroom and kitchen spaces, and housekeeping will maintain a rigorous cleaning schedule throughout the semester.

Move-In Processes

College officials are in the process of determining a move-in schedule that will allow out-of-state students to return to campus two weeks prior to the start of classes in order to self-isolate. We also anticipate a staggered move-in process, similar to the move-out schedule, to spread out the number of students returning at one time. From what we know, we believe that the governor will also be requiring COVID-19 testing of all students, faculty and staff, which will occur upon arrival to campus. Additional information on move-in will be provided in the weeks ahead.

Campus Dining

Parkhurst Dining will continue to provide food in both the dining hall and The Pub, though fewer tables will be available in order to promote social distancing. Meals will be served to students rather than the previous buffet setup, and to-go options will also be available. We will be asking students to sign up for specific meal times to avoid overcrowding in the dining hall.

Supplies Needed

Between now and your return to campus, we ask that you purchase the following items, if you don’t have them already, in order to best ensure and monitor your personal health: a thermometer, at least one washable cloth mask, a supply of Acetaminophen and/or Ibuprofen, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes or spray.

Closing Thoughts

Colby-Sawyer College is a strong community, and it will take each one of us doing our part to maintain being on campus together this fall. We each will need to take personal responsibility for wearing our masks, adhering to institutional guidelines, and being diligent about hand-washing. We will need to limit our travel to and from campus to critical situations only (doctor’s appointments, family emergencies, etc.). I am confident in our community to do these things individually and collectively so that we may be together on campus and enjoy the benefits that come from face-to-face instruction and a residential experience.

Please continue to monitor your email and the college’s website in the coming weeks for additional updates. You are also invited to attend a Zoom session on Tuesday, June 16, at 4 p.m. in which I will address your questions and concerns.

Kind regards,
Sue

Susan D. Stuebner, Ed.D.
President and Professor of Social Sciences and Education

From the President

April 24, 2020

Dear Students,

As we enter the final week of classes of the spring semester, I wanted to thank you for your patience and resilience throughout the college’s response to COVID-19. The shift to remote learning, as well as the cancellation of athletic seasons, events and trips, certainly was not planned, but you have continued to handle the situation with grace and an understanding that all decisions were – and will continue to be – made with the best interests of our students and the college community in mind.

I would also like to thank those of you who attended Wednesday evening’s Zoom Town Hall, in which I had the opportunity to answer some of your questions and address a few concerns. I would also like to thank the Student Government Association for its help in promoting Wednesday’s event and soliciting questions from fellow students. The rest of this message provides you with some of the main topics that we discussed on Wednesday. For those of you who were unable to attend, you can also watch a recording of Wednesday’s Town Hall by clicking here.

  • Room and board refunds: Refund checks to seniors were mailed Thursday and you should receive them by next week. First-years, sophomores and juniors need to notify billing@colby-sawyer.edu as to whether you would like to receive a refund check or have a credit applied to next semester’s bill. Underclassmen who notify the billing office by today that they would like a refund will have checks issued next week. Going forward, there will be about a week delay between requesting a refund and the issuance of the refund check.
  • Finals: Finals will take place as scheduled May 1-4. Students who have three exams scheduled on the same day can email registrar@colby-sawyer.edu to reschedule an exam.
  • Commencement: We continue to plan to celebrate our seniors in person with a commencement ceremony scheduled for August 8. Typically, employers who want proof of your graduation will request a transcript, which will be available following the original May 9 commencement date. Diplomas will be distributed at the August 8 ceremony. If you are unable to attend the ceremony in August, you may request your diploma by emailing registrar@colby-sawyer.edu.
  • Move-out: We still intend to host two-hour move-out sessions May 4-18, so make sure to sign up for a shift through Residential Life as soon as possible. Precautions have been, and will continue to be, taken to limit the number of people on a floor of a particular residence hall at a given time, as well as the time people are allowed inside. Housekeeping will also be on hand to provide regular cleanings, and the use of protective masks is also being considered. We understand that some of you may not be able to return to campus by May 18 due to state lockdown orders or other circumstances. Please check the Residential Life signup schedule regularly for added dates, or email residential@colby-sawyer.edu to schedule a later shift. The mailroom will be open during move-out sessions.
  • Fall semester: It is our intention to begin the fall semester with face-to-face learning. There will likely be some social distancing techniques implemented – such as limiting the number of people in a classroom or having shifts at the dining hall – to ensure the safety of the campus community. It is also our hope that both the Baird Health and Counseling Center and New London Hospital will have testing for COVID-19 available. We expect to make a decision about the fall semester by July.
  • Future of CSC: Like most colleges and universities across the country, Colby-Sawyer, too, is feeling the financial ramifications of COVID-19. That said, I am extremely confident in the state of the institution and its direction going forward. Nothing has changed regarding the college’s recently announced partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, and, in fact, the unfortunate circumstances of this pandemic have only reinforced the value of – and need for – the kind of qualified healthcare professionals Colby-Sawyer is known to produce.

I wish you the best of luck with the final week of classes and with your preparations for final exams. Thank you for staying in touch via social media. My very best wishes to you and your families. Be safe and stay healthy.

Kind regards,
Sue

Susan D. Stuebner, Ed.D.
President and Professor of Social Sciences and Education

From the President

April 3, 2020

Dear Students and Families,

I hope this message finds you well. As we wrap up our third week of remote learning, I wanted to take time to update you on the latest news and procedural changes that have come about as part of the college's response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As always, you can find the latest updates on the college’s COVID-19 Updates webpage.

This message will serve as the first in a series of emails I hope to distribute as a means of keeping you all abreast of ongoing matters at the college. Important topics in this week's email include:

  • Remote Learning Resources - A webpage has been created with helpful tips on accessing remote learning resources;
  • Commencement - An in-person commencement ceremony will be held Saturday, Aug. 8, and will be live streamed on the college's website;
  • Room and Board Refunds - Room and board refunds will be distributed to students, with additional information to follow no later than April 17;
  • Town Hall with President Sue Stuebner - President Sue Stuebner will host a Town Hall meeting through Zoom on Wednesday, April 8 at 4:30 p.m. EST to answer questions from students and their families.

As you may know, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu issued a stay-at-home order late last week in an effort to limit the spread of the virus. In response to this order, I notified faculty and staff last Friday that campus would immediately close to all employees unless otherwise instructed by a supervisor in order to perform a necessary function. Likewise, only a limited number of students - whose applications for extended emergency housing were approved - remain on campus. These students only have access to Lawson Hall, where they are currently residing, and the dining hall in order to pick up "grab-and-go" meals.

Remote Learning Resources

Last week I also announced that remote learning had been extended through the remainder of the spring semester. Shortly after this announcement was made, you should have received an email detailing the wide variety of academic resources that are accessible to you remotely. A webpage has also been created, and can be found here, to assist students in navigating platforms like Moodle and Zoom, outlining changes to the academic calendar, and providing helpful tips on how to book appointments with the Student Learning Collaborative and Access Resources. Information on the Cleveland Library's remote hours, as well as how to contact a librarian with reference questions, is also included.

Commencement

I also made the difficult announcement last week that commencement, originally scheduled to take place Saturday, May 9, had been postponed. After discussing options for an alternative date with senior class officers, it has been decided that the college will host an in-person commencement ceremony Saturday, Aug. 8, as long as the threat of COVID-19 infection has subsided. Plans are also in the works to hold both the Scholars and Leaders and Nurse Pinning Ceremonies, as well as Senior Week activities surrounding this date. Commencement will feature the same speakers and awards that would have taken place in May, as well as the ceremonial issuing of diplomas that our seniors have been working toward for four years. We understand that some students and their families may be unable to return to campus for this date, and steps are being taken to livestream the event through the college's website.

Room and Board Refunds

A question I continue to receive from students and families is whether or not the college plans to offer room and board refunds to students. I am pleased to announce that the college's board of trustees has approved a refund to cover the time students were not allowed to return to their residence halls in response to COVID-19. Information on when refunds will be distributed, as well as the amount of each refund, will be provided no later than April 17.

Town Hall with President Sue Stuebner

There is no doubt these are unprecedented times and as such, questions will continue to arise as we all adjust to life amid this pandemic. In the interest of transparency and increasing communication with students and their families, I will host a Town Hall meeting through Zoom on Wednesday, April 8, at 4:30 p.m. EST. An email will follow early next week with connection information. It is my hope to answer as many questions as possible during this hour-long session, and provide any additional updates that may come about.

Finally, I want to remind the campus community of the importance of staying connected as we continue to navigate this uncertain situation. Please follow the college on Facebook and Instagram where we are continuously showcasing the many talents and achievements accomplished by our students, and feel free to drop us a line at any time. We also encourage you to email communications@colby-sawyer.edu with any questions, concerns or ideas you may have. In the meantime, stay healthy and know that we miss you!

Best regards,
Sue

Susan D. Stuebner, Ed.D.
President and Professor of Social Sciences and Education

Remote Learning Extended

March 25, 2020

Dear Students and Families,

This semester is proving to be unlike any other higher education has seen. I would like to thank you all for your patience and understanding as we continue to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances surrounding COVID-19. These are indeed unprecedented times, with all aspects of our lives impacted by this pandemic in one way or another. I want to ensure you that the college remains in close contact with both local and state health officials, and decisions will continue to be made with the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff at the forefront of our thinking.

Earlier this month, I notified you that the college would shift to a remote learning model through April 3 in an effort to limit the risk of exposure to the campus community. It was our hope that the number of confirmed cases in the state would have reached its peak by then, and that everyday life could begin to return to the way it was before the term “Coronavirus” became a regular part of our lexicon. Unfortunately, the number of confirmed cases in the nation, and in New Hampshire, continues to rise, and the risk of infection has yet to subside. As much as I wish we could adhere to the original plan of having students return to campus in early April, information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and national mandates related to the coronavirus, prevent us from doing so. As such, I am announcing that we will extend online learning through the end of the semester.

I know you will have a number of questions about what this means specifically for you. Our communications team has developed, and updates often, a Frequently Asked Questions website to assist you during this time. Let me provide a few highlights. Campus is currently closed to all students who have not been approved for temporary emergency housing. College officials are in the process of creating an application for extended emergency housing, which will be granted to individuals on the basis of homelessness, housing insecurity or an inability to return to their home country - this application will be made available in the coming days with all approved students to be housed in Lawson Hall. Otherwise, we anticipate that most students who were initially approved for temporary housing will leave campus in the next few days. For those who wish to return to campus to retrieve belongings, detailed instructions on how we are going to handle this aspect will be forthcoming. In the meantime, please refrain from traveling to campus before receiving instructions on when to do so as you will not be permitted access to your residence hall. You may wonder if there will be a refund for your room and board costs, which there will be, and more information will be available about this in the next few days as well.

In addition to monitoring the website, during the next few weeks, it is very important that you continue to watch your email closely as we have several institutional processes that will take place such as advising, registration for fall semester, housing selection for next year, etc.

I d like to say a few words specifically to our seniors. While social distancing is required of us all right now to slow the spread of this virus, it runs counter to everything that Colby-Sawyer values. We will not be able to hold commencement on May 9; however, we are committed to having a celebration in person later this summer where we can honor the accomplishments and contributions each of you as seniors has made to Colby-Sawyer. Campus staff will be in contact with your class officers about the options we are considering and we will have more information for you by mid-April. Your official degree will be effective as of May 2020, but again, our hope is to hold an in-person ceremony to celebrate you.

Now more than ever is a time to find creative ways to stay connected to your friends from Colby-Sawyer. Let us know how you are doing. Send photos. Drop us a line. We miss you.

In the meantime, please comply with the mandates that your state has issued regarding the Coronavirus. We want you all to be safe and be well.

Kind regards,
Sue

Susan D. Stuebner, Ed.D.
President and Professor of Social Sciences and Education

Spring Break Extended due to COVID-19

March 13, 2020

Dear Students and Parents,

The situation surrounding COVID-19 remains incredibly fluid and changes day by day. In the interest of negating the potential spread of COVID-19 to our students, faculty, staff and surrounding community, I, along with the college’s senior leadership and emergency response teams, have decided to extend spring break through March 20. In addition, beginning March 23, all courses will be taught online for a period of two weeks. During this time, residence halls and campus housing will remain closed, and students are asked not to return to collect their belongings. Students who are unable to make other living arrangements, however, may be permitted to stay on campus by completing a Temporary Emergency Housing Application.

Furthermore, all varsity athletic seasons have been canceled for the spring semester. The decision to cancel varsity athletics, albeit difficult, was made in part as a result of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference’s decision to halt all conference contests for the remainder of the semester. Similarly, all college-sanctioned travel – whether domestic or international – has been canceled for the remainder of the academic school year.

I want to stress that there have been no confirmed or presumed cases of COVID-19 at Colby-Sawyer College or within Merrimack County. However, with the health and wellbeing of the campus community as our top priority, we feel it necessary to implement these precautionary steps. I sincerely regret this disruption to our usual spring calendar, especially in regards to the many talented seniors who will soon be saying goodbye to campus with commencement only eight weeks away. We truly believe that taking these steps is necessary in fulfilling our obligation of best ensuring the safety of our students, faculty and staff.

We will continue to provide regular updates in the weeks ahead, and it is our sincere hope that we will reopen campus to regular operations the weekend of April 4-5. The college remains in close contact with both local and state health officials, and I can assure you that all future decisions will be made in the best interest of our campus community. We appreciate your patience as we all cope with the anxieties and uncertainties that have come as a result of COVID-19.

Best regards,
Sue

Susan D. Stuebner, Ed.D.
President and Professor of Social Sciences and Education