Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh announced today in an email to all undergraduate students that the goal for the fall 2020 semester is to reopen the campus after having to move online for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester due to the coronavirus. 

“After careful consideration, and in consultation with leadership, I have decided Gonzaga University will work with the goal of returning to operations and re-opening our campus – including resuming in-class instruction – for Fall Semester 2020,” McCulloh said.

He went onto say that the health and well-being of the community is the No. 1 priority in making this decision and the administration will make all its decisions based off that.

“We are fortunate; as a university with relatively small class sizes that facilitate new approaches, we are able to work to develop appropriate models for modifying the environments that facilitate safely learning, living, and working together within the Gonzaga University community,” McCulloh said in the email.

As the university moves forward to make plans to reopen campus, McCulloh has appointed a pandemic response task force who will work to develop a plan that addresses all health matters.

McCulloh said this includes but is not limited to:

  • Reworking class schedules and sequencing to make class sizes smaller
  • Evaluating how to safely run campus housing, dining and the fitness center
  • Allowing those who are more vulnerable to work remotely
  • Knowing what tools are available for assessing the health of the community such as: “pre-testing, antibody testing and utility of contact tracing”
  • Supporting those who may contract the virus
  • Managing formal and informal campus gatherings
  • Use of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and gloves
  • Regulation of visitors and building access

This task force will have representation from all areas, including McCulloh. It will be coordinated by Charlita Shelton, the interim associate chief diversity officer.

“It is my belief that if the conditions are correctly established, and individual members engage responsibly and intentionally in its management, we will be able to manage the virus even as we re-engage in the critical work of teaching, learning, and living in community,” McCulloh said.

Riley Utley is the head news editor. Follow her on Twitter: @rileyutley.

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