I hope this email finds you safe and well. This welcome message contains a number of updates, including information about a phased reopening of the AUSB campus in Fall Quarter 2021.
In looking ahead to fall quarter I am writing to share decisions that have been made about our fall schedule and Santa Barbara campus operations. As you have likely seen from the Chancellor’s message (pasted below), after careful consideration given to national conversations focusing on higher education, reopening, and vaccines, the university has decided to move forward with the expectation that anyone who enters campus buildings and anyone who participates in face-to-face Antioch sponsored or Antioch hosted face-to-face activity is fully vaccinated.
This decision was informed by numerous surveys of the academic community regarding vaccines rates within our community and thoughts on requiring vaccines.
The University’s Reopening Task Force and our campus based Operations Team deliberated about what a phased reopening might look like this fall. We wish to phase in the offering of more campus-based courses and experiences for students while at the same time offering the safest possible environment for the whole community.
This phased reopening means that the AUSB campus facility will be available for classes and study starting in the fall quarter. Academic programs will offer a range of remote courses, face-to-face courses, fully online courses, or a combination of hybrid or hyflex courses, and support services will be available, although not yet fully at the “pre-pandemic” level we knew prior to March, 2020.
For questions about specifics related to your respective academic program, please reach out to your Program Chair, Academic Advisor, or Program Coordinator. The Program Chair is the one who will be able to address accommodations for students who have moved away from the area, must continue their coursework remotely, or would prefer to do so for medical or other reasons.
We believe operating with the expectation that anyone who enters a campus building and anyone who participates in face-to-face Antioch sponsored or Antioch hosted activity is fully vaccinated is a way to promote both a safe environment and increased in-person engagement. Thus, vaccinations will be expected of all persons entering the campus, except for those with medical or religious exemptions.
As we move forward with reopening, we intend to support those in our community who want or need to continue wearing masks. While wearing a mask will only be required for those not fully vaccinated (see exceptions above), we strongly encourage all to wear masks when in the building, to encourage a comfortable working and learning environment for themselves and others around them.
As of this writing (subject to change), our procedures will consist of the following:
- A check-in procedure will be established at the entrance for all who enter the building. In this way there will be a way to track all who have entered the building in case we do have to report a positive COVID-19 case for contact tracing;
- Although there is little evidence at the moment to suggest the virus is transmitted on surfaces we will continue our practice of regular professional cleaning and disinfecting and will have sufficient hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies available to wipe off shared keyboards, desks, etc.
- There will be no expectations for masks outside the campus building or while sitting on the third-floor open-air patio area on campus.
Student and Academic Support
As we begin to reopen the campus, we anticipate:
- The Library will be open with in-person and virtual support, and study space,
- The computer lab within the library will be available for students to sign up. Maximum capacity limits will be set as we get closer to the opening of fall quarter,
- Printing will be available in the library,
- We will welcome work-study students back to campus;
- The Writing Center will be open for in-person and virtual support;
- Student Services support staff will be available through a blend of in-person and virtual office hours staffed by professional staff.
We will continue to monitor local, regional, and state public health reports. As mentioned earlier, these plans are subject to change based on developments with the continued spread and containment of the virus.
Your Program Chair will be able to provide program-specific information about their plans for the fall coursework, and they will communicate these plans as they are firmed up.
As we plan this reopening, we will work through issues as a community and ensure that we are protecting everyone’s safety to the greatest extent possible while also advancing student learning in all of our programs.
With kind regards and best wishes for your summer studies,
Barbara Lipinski, PhD, JD
Provost and Chief Executive Officer
Antioch University Santa Barbara