Dear Scripps College of Communication Bobcats,
By now, I’m sure you have read the message from President Nellis announcing Phase 2 of Ohio University’s plan for a safe return to campus. Soon, some of you will learn that you have been identified as a priority student for Phase 2 return so that you will have an opportunity to engage in hands-on learning in some of your courses. Others of you will learn that you will continue with remote learning for your classes. Of course, there are a range of emotions that will accompany each message. Some of you will be excited, others will be disappointed, and some may even have slight anxiety. The pandemic is the greatest health crisis in over 100 years, so that range of emotions is to be expected as we confront this challenge.
To those of you who will not be part of the Phase 2 return, I want to assure you that our objective is to get you back on campus as soon as it is safe to expand our on-campus density. Like you, I yearn for the vibrant community inside Schoonover, Scripps Hall, RTV, and our other spaces. That community is what we cherish and love about the Scripps College, and it is not complete without you here. That said, we also want to be realistic in balancing our desire to have you return with the necessity of mitigating risk to members of our college, university, and greater Athens community.
Over the summer, faculty in the college prioritized our courses and programs that required in-person instruction. That priority list took into consideration the specialized needs of certain programs to use studios, labs, specialized equipment, and other activities that require in-person presence on campus. At the same time, faculty also examined various ways in which many courses could provide high-quality learning experiences using remote-learning technologies and teaching approaches. The evolution toward in-person learning will continue to unfold, and our sincere hope is that more of you will be invited back to campus as the academic year progresses. Again, we miss all of you and can’t wait to have you safely in our classrooms, labs, studios, newsrooms, and other facilities.
To those of you who were selected for Phase 2 return, please be safe. We must all act in ways that minimize risk so that other Bobcats can have the opportunity to safely return to campus at a later date. When you come into Schoonover, you will see signs with safety messages telling you to wear face coverings, maintain appropriate personal distance from others, wash your hands, and to generally follow other CDC and State of Ohio recommendations to mitigate risk of exposing yourself or others to the virus. Please take those recommendations seriously and remind others to “mask up” when entering the building. As we return to campus, we have a prime responsibility to be diligent and pave the way for others to safely return.
In the days to come, those of you returning to campus will receive additional information from your instructors and others concerning protocols that will be followed in the unique spaces and settings for your class. Carefully attend to those messages and contact your instructor with questions. If you have questions about your return, don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can help you find answers.
Finally, to our first-year students, know that you are in our hearts. We were excited to have you bring your energy and excitement to campus! I want you to know that we fully embrace you as members of our community, and we are eager to help you make connections so that when you do come to campus, you will hit the ground running. Reach out to your faculty and schedule times to speak with them. Connect with other students in your classes. Follow college and school social media channels to learn how you can get involved now in one or more of our student organizations. And, if you want to talk with someone to help solve problems or to just connect, reach out to the college office by emailing email@example.com. We are here to support you in any way possible.
I wish you all peace and good health as we move through this together. I’m excited to see some of you in the coming weeks and others as soon as we are able to move into another phase of our reopening.