Dear KGI Community,
As you know, our COVID-19 Task Force meets and reports routinely to provide the best up-to-date and actionable science-based protocols for returning to campus while keeping our community safe. We are continually monitoring local, regional, and federal health authority’s announcements, we are in frequent contact with other colleges and universities, and we are consulting our professional network of healthcare experts. The State of California has recently postponed the opening of schools in LA and many other counties, they have mandated that numerous businesses re-close, and the enforcement of social distancing and mask-wearing in public places have become high priorities. Therefore, an update to our previous return to campus plan is warranted.
Higher education institutions have remained closed to in-person instruction, except where supporting essential workforce activities, including but not limited to: providing housing solutions, COVID-19 responses, training and instruction for the essential workforce, and support of the infrastructure required to sustain these operations. Our research operations have continued for essential projects, our Summer (online) program has been robust, many of our staff have continued to work on campus to assure our ability continue our operations, and faculty and staff have been very active preparing for a fall reopening. As many of our students are preparing for careers in the essential workforce, our hybrid approach to course delivery falls within allowable criteria, and our research is focused on practical solutions to disease treatment, diagnosis, and prevention.
After intense discussion and weighing all the available information and projections, we announced last week to our students that orientation will take place entirely online. Further, the majority of our courses will be online when possible. Any in-person components of classes or programs will be scheduled with the faculty and course leads. This decision was taken in an abundance of caution, as well as with confidence in our ability to deliver a superb, high-quality educational experience, primarily online. Therefore, our students may choose to remain fully online until the winter break. For certain classes, however, this will likely require some on-campus activities before the Spring Semester begins, during the January 4-15, 2021 Intersession. We are currently planning programming that might substitute many of our hands-on activities, our team-based experiences, student support and mentoring, and the numerous networking programs which are so crucial to career development.
Initially, to prepare for the potential return of students on campus, we indicated that specific departments would start a phased return from August 3, 2020, through August 31, 2020. However, with the concerning increases in virus cases in our area, and the elevated precautions required by the State and County, the decision to move most of our instruction online was made, moving our planning for a full return to work to January 4, 2021, instead of August. To accommodate our students who will likely be on campus doing the hands-on activities or experiential portions of their programs during the January intersession period, we will need to initiate our return to work in stages well before January 4. We are still coordinating and scheduling the few on-campus classes for this fall, so there might also be a need for a limited return of specific staff earlier. Therefore, in the next few weeks, as enrollment and class requirements are finalized, we will get more detailed projections for students and class needs, so we will be able to plan more precisely. Again, specifics regarding our phased return to full operations on campus will be provided well in advance of January 4, but any return to campus will not likely begin before mid-November 2020.
In the interim, KGI has and will continue to remain an open campus. As such, KGI will continue to require symptom checks before entering buildings, face coverings while on campus, and proper social distancing.
We have approximately 60 people on campus per day over the summer. Signs have been posted around campus explaining symptom checks, mask requirements, and social distance regulations. KGI has had great success with those who have been coming to campus and their compliance with our protocols. We will continue to monitor KGI badge swipes, and if the number on campus is consistently over 100 individuals, we will institute a check-in station, which will include temperature checks.
There may be instances where certain people or departments have an operational need to be back on campus for various meetings or to provide support for the KGI infrastructure before our official return to campus. The cabinet-level supervisor in each division will determine those circumstances. Additionally, if an employee would prefer to work in their office, please speak with your supervisor.
We hope this return to campus date gives you a sense of ease for your Fall planning. We want you to be able to take care of yourself and your family during this incredibly difficult time. We sincerely appreciate the essential and critical work you do for KGI and our students. However, we recognize the impact that Coronavirus (COVID-19) may have on your ability to work for various reasons. If you are experiencing difficulties, we want you to know that there are opportunities for flexible work schedules and leave options offered via the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA) through December 31, 2020. Human Resources is available to help you navigate the needed leave options as the Institute operates under modified operations in response to this pandemic. If applicable, please complete Accommodation Request Form and return to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our preference is to be with you, in person, serving our students daily. But as we have seen over the past five months, the KGI community is resilient, it is committed, and it is united! You have risen to the challenges this pandemic has created, and we are so proud of everyone’s efforts and dedication to our mission.
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