From President, Rev. James J. Maher, C.M. (June 24, 2020)
Dear Niagara students,
I hope you are enjoying your summer break, and enjoying time with family and friends.
Since the end of the spring semester, and through the past several weeks we have been very busy preparing for the fall semester at Niagara University. The university is continuing to follow guidance from elected officials and health organizations from the federal, state and local level, and we have developed “Forward Niagara,” a detailed blueprint that will guide us to safely resume on-campus learning, living, and working for the fall semester.
We know that the news of the pandemic continues to change regularly, and we will make adjustments as necessary, however, I would like to share the following updates with you:
One of many considerations in safely repopulating our campus is the fall academic calendar. This adjusted schedule reduces the possibility of students, faculty, staff, and administrators traveling during the long weekends in September and October, potentially contracting the virus, and returning to campus.
Our revised academic calendar for the fall of 2020 is as follows:
- Monday, August 24, 2020 Undergraduate classes begin and courses will continue through the semester without a Labor Day break or fall semester break in October.
- Tuesday, November 24, 2020 Undergraduate classes conclude. Students depart for Thanksgiving break and will not return to campus for the remainder of the semester.
- Monday, November 30, 2020 Reading day
- Tuesday, December 1, 2020 Final exams begin and will be administered remotely and proctored where appropriate.
- Monday, December 7, 2020 Semester ends after the last scheduled exam
We have established protocols for social distancing (6 feet) and the wearing of masks on campus. The university has purchased necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) for faculty/staff/students for the upcoming school year, and a distribution policy for PPE will be communicated in the coming weeks.
Academic Learning Space
The academic plan for the fall includes the majority of undergraduate classes will be held in-person, in a reduced-density classroom-based teaching environment, complemented by hybrid, flexible and virtual components. Both faculty and students in the in-person classroom environment will be required to wear masks.
Campus Cleaning and Disinfection
As we prepare for the fall semester, our new cleaning provider, UG2, has begun to implement their "ReNew" cleaning program, which was developed specifically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to provide an exceptionally pristine and healthy campus environment that mitigates the risk of infection. In addition to enhanced cleaning protocols, frequencies for cleaning on campus will also increase. For example, the cleaning and disinfection of high-touch points in heavy traffic areas, such as main entrances, lobbies, and elevators, will occur four times each day.
We are prepared to provide, on request, single-occupancy rooms in our residence halls. These will be complemented as necessary with off-campus housing through the university’s partnerships with area hotels. Double occupancy will be available based on health and safety protocols and student preference.
We will stagger the schedule for students to move into residence halls beginning as early as mid-August, which will allow for reduced density and social distancing during the move-in process. Students will receive more information on housing, including making changes to your housing selection, move-in dates, and residence hall policies from the Office of Residence Life by July 1.
I want to thank you in advance for your cooperation as we implement these measures. This is an unprecedented time, not only for Niagara University, but for all of higher education, our nation, and the world. As we move through the coming weeks and months, guidance from the state and leading health organizations may force us to alter protocols and procedures. I want to thank you in advance for your flexibility and understanding.
My best wishes to you for a safe and healthy summer for you and your family.
With every good wish,
James J. Maher, C.M.