Fiat Protect the Lux!

Last week, Alfred University reached a significant and welcome milestone: the return of our first Fall semester students! Nearly six months ago, our students left campus to finish their Spring semester classes virtually while most of our employees pivoted to teleworking. It is heartwarming to see the lifeblood of our institution—our students, staff, and faculty—return to our campus. Your presence, and the enthusiasm and excitement you bring with you, is what makes Alfred University such a special place.

Our students’ return—and the return of a growing list of employees, which began in early July—was the result of the hard work of a dedicated group of Alfred University staff and faculty who first developed and then began executing our Fall 2020 Reopening Plan (filed with the New York State Department of Health in late June). We are extremely grateful to all of you who have contributed to this important endeavor.

The on-campus students who returned last week came mostly from international locations and states on New York State’s travel advisory list. Approximately 70 students were welcomed back and screened for COVID-19 exposure and symptoms, with none of them requiring a full COVID-19 test.

Next Friday through Sunday (August 21-23), we will welcome the remainder of our students. We will employ a process developed by our Operations and Returning Students task forces that will involve screening students in their vehicles and identifying students who may need a COVID-19 test. The process will maximize efficiency in the screening process and maintain safety as students proceed to their respective residence halls. 

Due to the significantly higher number of students returning next week, their onboarding will present a greater degree of complexity, making adherence to the task force plans critical to achieving the same level of safety and efficiency as last week. To accomplish this goal will require everyone to successfully execute the plan our reopening team has developed.

If you are a student planning to take classes in person on our main campus and who has not yet affirmed your commitment to Protect the Lux, please do so. If you have not yet selected an available day and time for your campus move-in, please do so as soon as possible by using this link. Finally, please remember to complete your daily health screening. Faculty and staff can complete their daily screening here; students can complete theirs here.

Beyond the return plans, this note is also to let you know about an additional safety measure that will be relying upon during the Fall semester. This safety measure involves a pooled saliva test, which has a high degree of accuracy for both positive and negative COVID-19 results. Along with the initial and daily screening protocols, the pooled saliva test will provide our University with a greater opportunity to stay ahead of any COVID-19 spread during the semester. We plan to begin sample testing with the pooled saliva approach in early September.

Our goal since the onset of COVID-19 has been to make it possible for students to return to our Magic Valley for the Fall semester, with a focus on promoting the safety of our students, staff, and faculty. Our reopening planning team has put us in the best possible position to welcome students back, while following New York State’s guidelines. Let’s all remember to play our part as we onboard our students next week and begin classes on Monday, August 24.

Fiat Protect the Lux!