August 17, 2020
In just a week we’ll be starting our fall semester, and it will be like no other semester before. Given what our students have experienced in the last six months, I can think of no better place than Fort Lewis College to support healing and growth.
We’re returning to campus after many months of adaptation and planning. While we are prepared, we will no doubt face challenges. While the first day of class will feel like a fresh start in many ways, we must remain nimble.
The Fort Lewis College community is as flexible as ever. Since March, our staff, students, and faculty have rolled with uncertainty and persevered through a global pandemic, all while staying true to our values as an experiential and inclusive college. Our staff have made incredible lifts to keep campus clean, to continue to provide on-campus services and amenities to residents, and connect with students with limited access to technology. Our faculty quickly pivoted their instruction in the spring and have worked diligently the last few months to offer students safe and high quality options for fall courses.
I’m in awe of each of you and the work you put in as part of this evolution. I feel confident about the path we’re taking for fall instruction. As we approach the start of the semester and start to execute our plan, I need each of us to commit to remaining flexible. The pandemic has taught us that confidence is not enough and we need to be ready change to our plans again, and quickly. We are going to do everything possible to keep our people safe, which will require us to assess and reassess our operations frequently.
Reevaluating will be uncomfortable and unnatural. I fully acknowledge that it will be at times exhausting and worrying. What will sustain our community through this will be our commitment to the greater good. By making decisions that take care of the community as a whole, we will grow stronger as a group.
This means following the mandatory mask policy; masks must be worn in all indoor spaces and in crowded and centralized outdoor spaces. Everyone will be wearing a mask at FLC all the time. This means tracking your symptoms, maintaining physical distance, and washing your hands frequently. This also means being a voracious reader of your email and keeping up-to-date with our online Gear Up FLC resource. We have been and will continue to communicate often via email and Gear Up. You must be an active participant in seeking out and understanding the information leadership has worked hard to develop and distribute.
We will dramatically increase our chances for having a successful fall if everyone commits to following our pillars of virus mitigation (mask wearing, physical distance, handwashing, symptom tracking), to being aware of the most current information, and to remaining flexible. That’s how we’ll take care of the community as a whole.
Let’s do this, Skyhawks!
President of Fort Lewis College