COVID-19 Rapid Response Team Report
Our COVID-19 Rapid Response Team is making significant progress toward addressing the most urgent priorities for our return to campus. While we don’t have every answer, I want to share some information about the process that’s underway.
It’s important to note that our academic calendar hasn’t changed, so you can count on these milestones that kick off our fall semester:
- August 14 – Housing move-in
- August 17 – Faculty return
- August 18 – Convocation (this will happen online)
- August 19 – Classes begin
Some questions about what to expect this fall have come up again and again in our town hall sessions and at the community colleges, so we know they are important to you. Here’s what we know about these key topics:
About work at NMSU
- Safety of our faculty, staff and students is paramount.
- Staff members who are currently teleworking, and can continue to perform their duties from home, should do so until you hear from your supervisor. As we bring some staff back to campus, we must limit the number of people on campus where we can.
- Faculty and staff who must be on campus to serve essential functions or provide instruction or student support will do so in compliance with safety practices to reduce the spread of the virus.
- A task force is currently preparing detailed guidelines for protective equipment and cleaning protocols; NMSU campuses are purchasing supplies in bulk, so employees have what they need to use to enhance cleaning protocols in their own workspaces.
- Focus groups for faculty, staff and other stakeholders will be held in the next month to hear your thoughts, concerns, ideas and questions, so we can address them.
About studying at NMSU
- Students across the NMSU system need a learning environment that’s safe, accessible, and inclusive. NMSU joins many institutions across the country in implementing a flexible, hybrid online and in-person course delivery that meets the academic and health needs of students and faculty.
- A task force is currently assessing classroom space across the system to identify and implement changes in occupancy, traffic flow and technology.
- In addition to increasing spacing and reducing the number of seats in classrooms, Facilities and Services is working to install sanitizing stations in each classroom.
- We’ll be communicating directly with new and returning students throughout the summer to keep them informed about what to expect in August.
About living and dining at NMSU
- A vast majority of our students have said they want to be on campus and enjoy the vibrant Aggie community. Campus residences and dining facilities will continue to be open at a reduced occupancy rates, and we’ll offer a range of housing choices for students living on campus.
- The excitement of student life is essential to the NMSU experience. State restrictions on gathering sizes will guide our plans regarding everything from club meetings to attendance at sporting events. Our student Life office is working to create safe ways for all students to engage in the activities that make college life special.
- Our Housing and Residential Life and Campus Dining teams are establishing cleaning, occupancy, traffic flow, packaging, and delivery modifications to help reduce the spread of the virus on campus.
- We still expect all first-year students to live on campus, subject to our exemption policy, but we’ve added a COVID-19 related exemption to that policy for students who apply by the exemption deadline.
About research and creativity at NMSU
About health, safety, and responsibility at NMSU
- NMSU has tested hundreds of asymptomatic members of the Aggie community in recent weeks, allowing us to better understand the virus in our region and to contribute to the knowledge about the spread of this disease.
- We’re developing a streamlined system for reporting positive cases, as well as clear protocols for employees and training for supervisors on how to respond to such a report.
- We’re also developing clear guidelines for building closures, enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices, and reopening requirements, based on input from our own experts and recommendations from the CDC and other agencies.
- We’ll provide virtual training and instruction for every employee and student on our personal responsibility to keep each other safe and healthy. Face coverings, cleaning practices and social distancing are powerful tools, and we’ll use them to reduce the spread of the virus in our community.
We will report our progress to the NMSU system community on a weekly basis. We are eager to hear your questions, ideas and concerns. We’re also setting up a website that will be announced shortly to provide additional up-to-date information and a portal for questions. We hope you’ll use this site as your go-to resource in the weeks to come. In the meantime, please send them to Chancellor.Arvizu@nmsu.edu.