July 17, 2020 - Campus Return Information
Dear ACU Community,
I hope this finds you and your family well. Since my last message, we have continued to make preparations for the fall semester. As more details have emerged, we want to keep you updated on our plans. Thank you in advance for taking note of this important information.
INFORMATION FOR MAY 2020 GRADUATES AND THEIR FAMILIES
To meet new health protocols mandated by the city, we will celebrate Commencement outdoors in Wildcat Stadium the weekend of Aug. 7-8 in three ceremonies: Graduate students Friday at 8:30 p.m. (graduate degrees in all colleges) and undergraduate students Saturday at 9 a.m. (undergraduate degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Biblical Studies and the School of Nursing) and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. (undergraduate degrees in the College of Business Administration, and College of Education and Human Services). Face masks will be required of everyone and seating arrangements will support physical distancing. Watch your email for more information about Commencement Weekend.
INFORMATION FOR FALL 2020 STUDENTS AND PARENTS
ACU’s tradition of welcoming new students to campus during Wildcat Week will continue, but will look different. The Goodbye Blessing will take place at 8 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 17, and Candlelight Devo is Tuesday, Aug. 18, at 8:30 p.m. – both in Wildcat Stadium. All Wildcat Week activities will be intentional and safety will always remain our priority.
Opening Assembly, including the Parade of Flags, has been cancelled so we can devote all our staff resources to the other important elements of a successful and safe start to this new semester.
Fall Schedules in myACU
Adjusted class schedules for Fall 2020 are now loaded in myACU. Please check it carefully. Class times will be different this year. To leave time to clean each meeting space, we are allowing 20 minutes between classes instead of the usual 10. Updated locations for each class will be available Aug. 3 on myACU.
A few face-to-face classes have shifted to online delivery. If your schedule shows one of your classes this way, you will be expected to meet online during that specific time, so please don’t schedule work or other activities. More than 78 percent of our class sections will have face-to-face instruction, with less than 8 percent online. Another 14 percent are through independent study and internships. New class times have been added, but no classes are scheduled on weekends.
We will open the fall semester Aug. 24. Like many other universities, we have made the decision to cancel Fall Break and shift to online instruction after Nov. 24. This year, it is critically important for you to remain in class through that date, since those are the last days before we move online for the balance of the semester. We will have one week of online-only instruction after Thanksgiving, followed by final exams, with the semester concluding Dec. 11 as scheduled.
International Students and Scholars
ACU is committed to supporting our international students and scholars. They are valuable members of our community, and we will assist them in every way possible. Information for new and current (returning) international students and scholars for Fall 2020 can be found at acu.edu/international-education. This information is based on the most recent guidance received from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and will be updated regularly. If you have other questions or unique circumstances to discuss, please email email@example.com in our Office of International Students and Visiting Scholars.
Medical and Mental Health Care
ACU is committed to making your return to campus as safe as possible by providing you with resources to promote your health. We will continue working tirelessly to fine-tune our cleanliness and hygiene protocols. The ACU Medical and Counseling Care Center, along with Wildcat Care, are available to assist you with medical and mental health needs. Now more than ever, telehealth is an excellent resource, allowing you to stay healthy, talk with a provider 24/7 and greatly limit your exposure to COVID-19. Many medical concerns, such as a cold, sinus infection, rash, nausea, etc., can be discussed via telehealth. In addition to providing in-person care for your medical needs, the ACU Medical Clinic can provide COVID-19 testing with same-day results.
If you experience symptoms related to COVID-19 while on campus, please use our Coronavirus Screening Tool by visiting Wildcat Care and clicking the button at the top of the page. If you are experiencing emotional distress, you can discuss your feelings and concerns with a mental health provider through Wildcat Care as well.
Student Life has assembled a subcommittee to oversee and approve all student activities and events this fall, including organization gatherings, and rushing and pledging activities. When appropriate safety and distancing protocols can be followed, we intend to approve events. We will also encourage holding as many events outdoors as possible. We are still evaluating whether intramural sports can continue in Fall 2020, and we will make a decision after the landscape for NCAA competition becomes more clear.
As noted previously, we have suspended our large Chapel gatherings in Moody Coliseum for the fall semester. Instead, students will participate in small-group Chapels carefully organized around the latest safety and distancing protocols. These small groups will be managed by the dean of spiritual formation and will meet weekly. The University Events team is forming a committee with representatives from Athletics, Student Life, Advancement and Academics to oversee and approve all campus-wide events.
INFORMATION FOR FACULTY AND STAFF
We are pleased that many of you are back on campus this week! As you know, Phase III of the return-to-work plan was pushed back to July 15. Face masks are required while on campus, unless you are alone in a private office or in an outdoor space where you can physically distance. If your office needs face masks, please complete this form.
GENERAL COVID-19 INFORMATION
ACU will provide voluntary COVID-19 PCR testing (the gold standard) free of charge to faculty, staff and students. We have secured 5,000 tests for this purpose.
Our plan includes testing any faculty, staff and students who would like to be tested in early August, and on other days scheduled throughout the fall semester; all student-athletes, coaches and Athletics staff as they return to campus; any symptomatic members of the ACU community; and close contacts of all positive cases identified through contact tracing. PCR, antigen and antibody testing will be available in the Medical Clinic.
A group of ACU staff has been trained and certified by Johns Hopkins University as contact tracers. They will augment the local health department’s work, and help centralize the information and coordination involved with ensuring that individuals can be contacted quickly and proper steps are taken to isolate them when necessary.
To meet CDC guidelines or local health department instructions, ACU will require quarantine for those who have been exposed to COVID-19 and isolation for those who test positive. Care coordinators will be assigned to all individuals to help meet their health needs. We have reserved space for students who test positive and don't have another place to isolate as they recuperate.
Face masks are required in all indoor spaces unless someone is alone in a private office, and outdoors when physical distancing is not possible. Residence hall roommates are not required to wear face masks in their private living space.
We will provide enhanced sanitization, resources for health screenings, access to personal protective equipment, and workplace and classroom wellness guidance. The addition of these new protocols, along with heightened attention to personal hygiene and self-care, means we will each be doing our part to protect our community.
As we prepare for the fall semester, one thing is clear: We really miss our students! Until you return, we will keep the purple lights on the Tower of Light and Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building, and continue to pray for you and your family.
Phil Schubert, Ed.D.