Community Message: February 10, 2021

A message from President Harring to the Muhlenberg community

 Wednesday, January 13, 2021 01:35 PM

To the Muhlenberg Community,

Whether you are studying, teaching or working on campus or remotely, I am delighted to welcome you back for the spring semester. It has been wonderful to see the return of campus activity and I look forward to the time when we can all be together.

Since last Thursday, approximately 1,250 students have returned to campus residence halls and housing. Move-in went well in spite of the winter storm that brought 18-24 inches of snow to the Northeast and caused delays to some pre-arrival testing. I want to offer my sincere thanks to all of our families for their patience and understanding, and to our residence life staff and volunteers for their agility and care in responding to the changing circumstances. Special thanks goes to our grounds crew and plant operations staff who worked around the clock to ensure parking lots and pathways were cleared of what seemed like the never-ending snow. In true Muhlenberg fashion, our community worked together to make the process as smooth as could be given the circumstances

Spring classes have started during our transitional modified quarantine. Most campus activities are being conducted virtually and students, faculty and staff should limit any unnecessary contact with others. This will allow all community members to acclimate to College policies and protocols. Once we complete the first round of on-campus testing and can assess the health of our community, we will make the appropriate adjustments to campus life. As with the fall, it is even more critical this semester for each of us to do our part to prevent the spread of the virus and adhere to the protocols and alert levels put in place to keep our campus safe. We are all responsible for the health of our community.

For those who have chosen to study remotely, I encourage you to take advantage of the many opportunities to engage virtually. Despite the distance, there are several ways to stay connected and continue to build your Muhlenberg community. Virtual events have already begun and you will receive weekly emails from the Dean of Students sharing upcoming programs. Also, remember that the College is here to support you and all student services are available to you—please take advantage of them, just like you would on campus. We welcome your feedback and ideas for how we can enhance your experience this semester.

Yesterday we announced that Muhlenberg Athletics will begin Return to Sport protocols that will allow our spring teams—followed by fall and winter sports—to participate in team activities. The protocols involve a phased approach that carefully prepares our athletes for competition should health and safety (and weather) conditions permit later this spring. We continue to explore competitive opportunities for our fall and winter athletes as well. Varsity sports are an important part of a Muhlenberg liberal arts education and I am proud of the work our athletics and health services staff have done to make sure we can move forward to provide these opportunities again.

Beginning on Monday, we will launch our new Spring semester COVID dashboard. With more students on campus we are expanding our reporting and have improved how the data are displayed. We will begin reporting faculty and staff cases as well, which will be a combination of self-reported cases and campus tests when applicable. The new dashboard will debut on February 15, with updates posted every Monday by 1 p.m.

For weeks we have planned and prepared for our return to campus. Now it’s up to us. Together we can navigate any challenges that lie ahead. I am confident we will have a successful semester. Best wishes for a great start. Go Mules!

Kathleen Harring