Dear Manor College Students & Community,

Our Basilian mission has endured more than 70 years through good times as well as times of challenge and crisis.  We are blessed with a close-knit community of authentic, Christian care for each other. Amid the difficulties of COVID-19 and the recent national movement to end racism and promote social justice, our mission remains as timely as ever.  We live according to Manor’s Core Values, which encourage us to peacefully address the issues and to prepare our students to serve society effectively and compassionately.  As our new Solidarity Statement commits, “we plan to continue a dialogue around these issues to build community now and well into the future and work toward the goal of ending racism and injustice.”

Today’s message centers us in our mission and values because these are our foundations.  Our plans for this Fall 2020 address our near-term future, but we always come back to our mission and who-we-are as a Basilian city inspired by our founders, the Sisters of St. Basil the Great, and their ministries, because together, we believe that personalized education in the Judeo-Christian tradition generates a commitment to a peaceful world, which inspires confidence in the present and hope for the future.

Our Return to Campus Plan for Academic Year 2020-2021, starting this fall is linked HERE for you to review, along with a video from me.

Yes!  We are open and on campus…carefully!

Here are the highest level guiding considerations:

  • We want everyone to be safe and to stay healthy while meaningfully learning, studying, teaching and supporting our students.

o   Health-safety is a shared responsibility among our entire community.

o   If you come to Manor’s campus, it is important that you be well informed and that you review the plan first.  There are details in the plan that require you to take certain actions.

  • Review the plan regularly, because it will change with time.
  • We have adopted multiple operating protocols in accordance with CDC and state guidelines.

o   For example, everyone must wear a mask on campus and take appropriate precautions, like 6’ of physical distancing and washing hands.  While our community is asked to supply their own masks, the college will provide a mask if someone forgets, within reason and supply limits.

o   Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should not enter campus.

  • Staff will work on a staggered days / times model in coordination with VP’s.
  • Academics will operate in a Hy-Flex model which allows for in person, hybrid in-person or online / fully remote learning.

o   There are processes to follow before entering a classroom.

  • For example, everyone must wear a mask and carry their Manor ID.
  • We recognize that not everyone is able to participate in on-campus activities.  Those working remotely must still be able to perform their essential job functions, and should coordinate with their VP’s.
  • Our facilities have been updated to mitigate COVID transmission.  Likewise, we will have enhanced signage on campus to help us with foot-traffic flow and reminding us of safety measures.
  • Campus cleaning and sanitizing will take place on a robust schedule.
  • There will be new processes for use of different parts of our campus, and for the provision of certain services.

o   Such as physical distancing in the Dining Hall,

o   Movement of some services to virtual or to larger spaces to allow for greater physical distancing.

o   Some spaces, like the auditorium / gym will be subject to separate guidelines or restrictions, such as from the NJCAA / NCAA. The fitness center, for example, will be closed.  We are planning on fall athletics, subject to the guidelines we receive.

  • Residence Life at St. Josaphat’s Residence Hall will operate subject to careful safety standards.

o   All kitchens and bathrooms are brand new, beautiful and will be cleaned on an enhanced basis.

o   Students are expected to be active participants in the safety process, such as by limiting the placement of personal items on countertops and using the laundry room on a staggered basis.

o   We have a residence hall quarantine plan, should the need arise.

  • We have a process for infection response that includes and involves the Montgomery County Health Department, whose instruction we are required to follow.
  • We will all need to get used to a “new/next normal” of strong protection-processes for a while, until the risk of COVID dissipates, but the good news is that we get to be together and our students will have an opportunity to enjoy a changed but invigorating Manor College experience.

o   Not only will Residence Hall bathrooms and kitchens be remodeled, but bedrooms will be modernized, and the entire wing of Veterinary Technology will be totally renovated and brand new!  More exciting news about that to come…

  • If the Governor / Health Departments require campus closures again, be prepared to return to online for that temporary period, semester or for a period should the college need to quarantine.
  • Provost & VPAA, Dr. Marc Minnick is co-serving as Manor’s COVID related lead point of contact with a TBD co-leader (who I will name in July).  A retired member of Academic Affairs, Jane Zegestowski, has volunteered to serve in a supporting role to these campus leaders, as her time permits.

As we consider the full plan, which everyone needs to read before returning to campus, please remember that being in any public place such as a campus involves some element of risk. Everyone bears that risk and must do their part by practicing physical distancing, wearing masks, frequently washing their hands, not touching their nose, mouth or eyes, and most importantly, staying home if they are sick or have a temperature above 100.4 degrees.  Our present plan and protocols are designed to help all of us experience the many benefits of being together while seeking to understand and mitigate the potential risks involved. Please note that we will amend protocols and best practices as more information and guidance becomes available. For example, the college may need to move online any time where the risk of COVID-19 appears to be rising suddenly.  We will continue to share updates.  Please be patient and understanding.

Please pray for Manor College and each other, asking God to protect, provide, and guide us through the many challenges and opportunities entrusted to us. Thank you for your cooperation and support as we prepare for what we pray will be an excellent and productive year.