President Mark Burstein announced the university’s plan for the Winter and Spring Terms on Nov. 2. Students, faculty and staff will have the option to learn or work remotely or on campus. The Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team (LPPT) worked together with county health professionals to make a decision for how Lawrence will continue to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Burstein’s email, the decision was “grounded in three guiding principles: protecting the health and safety of our community; sustaining our academic mission; and supporting all community members.”
Winter and Spring Terms will operate much like the Fall Term. Students will be allowed to make their own decision as to whether they would like to learn remotely or in person. There will be a combination of in-person and online courses. In order to spread out the return of students for Winter Term, move-in for students returning to campus will take place over several days, and classes will be remote for the first two weeks.
Burstein explained that the challenge of the pandemic is that each aspect of the Lawrence experience had to be considered and reworked. The process to determine the best approach to conduct classes during the pandemic began in March. According to Burstein, faculty members who specialize in relevant research helped with this process.
In order to evaluate the spread of COVID-19 on campus, the Stoplight Policy will continue. It analyzes the number of positive cases on campus and the number of students in quarantine to ensure the safety of students. If too many students are in quarantine, students will need to be sent home as the university would be at capacity.
Burstein said, “I want to thank students, faculty and staff for honoring the pledge. Our low positive test results show that students, faculty and staff are doing what’s necessary to inhibit the spread of the virus, and I’m so thankful for that.”
Christyn Abaray, assistant to the president and member of the LPPT, explained that making these decisions has been a very involved process. Abaray stated that a majority of the work was done over the summer, and the same process was used to make the decisions for Winter and Spring Terms. She emphasized the need to make the decision as soon as possible so that students are able to make the best decision for their Winter and Spring Terms.
“Take into consideration all the factors that put you in the best decision to learn, live and be as safe as possible and as healthy as possible,” Abaray advised students.