Preparing for Campus Return
Dear Students and Families,
In just a few weeks we will be welcoming you to campus as new members of the Class of 2024, students who are transferring to Muskingum, or returning Muskies. We are so eager to see you! Muskingum University has been preparing our facilities and programs to ensure a safe and healthy learning and living environment, while preserving the connections, activities and relationships that make this such a special place. Our planning teams carefully reviewed local, state, and national health guidance and consulted with medical professionals to develop guidelines and institute changes in readiness for our fall semester. We will continue to closely monitor all guidelines and make changes as needed.
Among the most important safety guidelines are wearing face coverings, maintaining social distancing, performing daily health checks, and following guidance on facility use and group events and gatherings. Adhering to each of these guidelines is the way that we express that MuskiesCare, and thus protect each and every one of us from illness while enjoying the opportunity to be together on our beautiful campus.
Before You Arrive
Minimize the COVID-19 risks by isolating from non-family members. Please schedule any going-away gatherings prior to August 1 and isolate, or minimize, non-family contacts beginning August 1.
Face coverings will be required in all campus buildings, except in your residence hall rooms, and outdoors when social distancing is not possible. We recommend that you bring at least four cloth face coverings to campus. The University will provide face coverings if forgotten, but you are expected to have your own and wash them regularly. Please follow the CDC link for information about acceptable face coverings: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html.
Daily health assessments will also be required – Please bring a digital, non-mercury thermometer so you can take your temperature each day for your personal use - don’t share with others. The bookstore will have thermometers for sale if you misplace or break yours.
Pack cleaning supplies – Physical Plant staff will thoroughly clean bathrooms and residence hall common spaces, but students must clean their own personal living space and do laundry regularly. Consider bringing laundry soap and appropriate cleaning sprays and wipe cloths to keep your room clean.
Personal use hand sanitizer – While multiple sanitizer stations will be posted throughout campus, access to your own supply is strongly encouraged.
Arriving on Campus
Revised academic schedule:
- Classes will begin a week early on Tuesday, August 18, and end on Tuesday, November 24. This schedule eliminates fall break. As always, we will hold classes on Labor Day.
- Each class period will be extended by five minutes. The MWF class schedule will begin at 7:50 a.m. and be completed by 3:15 p.m. The TTh schedule will begin at 8 a.m. and be completed by 3:20 p.m. Common hour (11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on TTh) will continue as scheduled
- The Spring 2021 academic calendar is still under review, but we are currently considering a return to campus on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service and Reflection. Spring semester classes would then begin on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021.
- The revised 2020-2021 fall academic calendar is available on our website here. Your course schedule on MuskieLink has been adjusted to reflect the revised class meeting times.
Move-in dates – First year student and transfer student move-in day will be Sunday, August 16. Returning student move-in day will be Monday, August 17. Students who need to arrive earlier will be contacted by a coach or supervisor with their move-in date. The move-in schedule will have assigned times to avoid congestion and maintain safe distancing. Be on the lookout for an email with move-in information from the Residence Life office with details about your move-in date and time.
Residential facility adjustments – In an effort to reduce density in residence halls, students had the option to select a single room, double room or family housing options at the double room rate. The distribution of rooms among singles and doubles has provided appropriate residence hall and bathroom spacing. Common areas will be organized to follow social distancing spacing, and additional cleaning protocols have been instituted for all residential spaces.
Health & Safety
Daily health checks – All employees are required to submit daily health assessments. Students will also be required to submit daily health assessments using the Muskie Safe app which is downloadable onto any mobile device. Specific instructions will be provided in future communications.
Underlying health conditions – Policies and practices will be implemented to address the needs of faculty, staff and students with underlying health conditions. Students will work through the accommodations process managed by the Disabilities Education Office.
Preparedness – While there have been no positive COVID-19 cases on campus, the University is working closely with the Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department and other local officials to develop quarantine testing and contact tracing protocols.
Classroom reassignment – Classrooms have been reassigned or reconfigured so that the majority of classes can meet for face-to-face instruction, while carefully maintaining appropriate social distancing. Many computer labs and classrooms are being outfitted with plexiglass dividers for maximum health and safety. Please check MuskieLink for your most up-to-date classroom assignment.
Blended instruction – Muskingum will provide blended instruction, with online learning and assessment activities integrated into face-to-face courses, using the Blackboard learning management system. This blended, flexible approach will allow students to stay connected and continue learning if they cannot attend class due to medical issues.
Dining & Campus Services
Dining spaces – All campus dining facilities have been adapted to meet social distancing and health guidelines. Buffet lines have been eliminated, but a variety of healthy food choices and creative menu offerings will still be provided. The Bait Shop menu will be grab & go only, with no custom ordering options at this time.
Bookstore – Students are encouraged to order textbooks and materials online through the University’s bookstore. The on-campus bookstore has been adapted to meet social distancing and health guidelines
University offices – Plexiglass dividers have been installed in offices with walk-up desks or counters to ensure the health of students, faculty and staff. Counseling, tutoring and career services will have online options available to meet student needs in addition to following social-distancing guidelines when meeting in person.
Student Life – Clubs, Greek Life, recreation and leadership activities will continue, but be prepared for new ways to connect, compete and create!
The Presidents Council of the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) has postponed all NCAA intercollegiate athletic competition through December 31, 2020 amidst continued concerns about COVID-19. The Conference is committed to moving NCAA intercollegiate competition to the spring, with various models being currently discussed.
While competition will not occur in Fall 2020, the Conference is planning a robust engagement of student-athletes during the fall semester with conditioning and preparation for competition according to CDC guidelines and NCAA criteria in conjunction with local health guidelines.
The fall sports that have intercollegiate competition postponed include cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis and volleyball. The winter-season sports of basketball, indoor track and field, swimming and diving, and wrestling will also have intercollegiate competition postponed during the 2020 calendar year, with plans to resume in January 2021.
Muskingum is dedicated to delivering a safe and healthy environment for Muskie student-athletes to stay actively engaged with their teams and coaches throughout the fall semester. Specific plans for each team are being put in place.
Keeping in Touch
These precautionary measures will help us to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on campus and maximize the time we are able to spend together. We will share additional information as it becomes available. Students, please check your Muskingum email regularly for messages and visit www.muskingum.edu/returntocampus for updates on the latest developments. If you have any questions about this information, or any other aspect of your Muskingum University experience, please do not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org and the appropriate person will respond to you as quickly as possible.
I appreciate your attention to this information, and your patience and flexibility as we continue to shape remaining plans for a successful fall semester. I hope that the remaining days of your summer provide ample time for rest and recreation, and that you remain safe and well.
President, Muskingum University