Dear members of the Cambridge College community,
Over the past several months we have continued to monitor and stay abreast of all of the guidance and recommendations from state, local and CDC authorities, especially as it relates to the higher education sector. During this time, I served on the Higher Education Workgroup tasked with generating recommendations to Governor Bakers’ advisory board for reopening the Commonwealth. As a member of this workgroup, we examined the range of issues that colleges and universities must address in their decisions about the extent to which they will bring students, faculty and staff back on campus in the fall. As we all know, these are not easy decisions and there is no one size that fits all institutions.
In order to thoughtfully consider the array of issues for Cambridge College, I appointed two workgroups, the Academic Workgroup chaired by Provost Jerry Ice and co-chaired by Associate Provost Tracy McLaughlin and Howard Horton, Executive Director, NEIB; and the Staffing and Facility Workgroup co-chaired by Phillip Page, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships and Lauretta Siggers, Vice President, Human Resources and Talent Development. These workgroups were tasked with generating recommendations for how we should operate our Fall semester. In making their recommendations both workgroups consulted widely with available institutional resources, were informed by surveys the College conducted of staff, students and faculty, and were informed by relevant public guidelines. The attached Campus Plan also includes the full list of members of each of these workgroups.
At the core of this work, was our most fundamental principle - the need to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. Both workgroups agreed to the following recommendation for our Fall semester, that:
- teaching and learning should continue to be delivered remotely; and
- staff should continue to work in remote mode
With this fundamental conclusion, each group also presented recommendations that we make the remote experience enhanced and more effective, that we are to assure flexibility in addressing special circumstances that would require access to the campus, and that we provide enhanced support along a number of dimensions as needed for students, faculty and staff. The key recommendations received from each workgroup highlighted these priorities, as follows:
The Academic Workgroup:
The Staff and Facility Workgroup:
- the College should remain remote through the end of the Fall 2020-21 term;
- the College should explore ways that we can enhance the remote teaching and learning experience for faculty and students; and
- the College should continue to assess on an ongoing basis, ways to make the remote experience more effective, including assessing and addressing technology needs.
- the College should continue in remote work mode for the Fall 2020-21 term;
- the College should continue to accommodate the need for staff members who perform essential services or have special circumstances that require it, to work on site; and
- the College should establish and monitor very clear protocols for coming on campus and exercising and adhering to health and safety requirements.
In the coming weeks you will receive updates on our progress to prepare for the Fall semester taking into consideration the latest protocols received from state and federal authorities.
Finally, we recognize that the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 are changing on a frequent basis. We intend to continue to monitor progress that will be made over the coming months. As new information is provided, it is important for us as a community to be able to respond accordingly, maintaining flexibility as we make any requisite adjustments to our plans. We will continue to seek and incorporate feedback from you over the coming months in our efforts to make this as effective as possible for all of us. We are all grateful for the tenacity, commitment and dedication that we see across our community and we continue to look forward to being back on campus together as soon as that is prudent and feasible for us.
All the best,
Deborah C. Jackson
500 Rutherford Avenue | Boston, MA 02129