The following email was sent on Thursday, May 21, 2020.

Dear Morningside Community –

As I have shared with you, it is our intent to open Morningside College with in-person classes for Fall Semester 2020. We certainly know that adjustments will need to be made in order to protect your health and safety, but we also know the great value of the personal relationships, the active learning, and the overall Morningside experience that are the result of delivering your education here on campus. That’s why we are working hard to plan and prepare to make it happen.

The Morningside Operation Open For Fall Task Force was established in April to focus on this work. The task force includes an oversight group and five sub-group for academic affairs, student life, summer events, athletics, and finance and facilities.

These groups have been convening over the last several weeks to develop plans and guidelines based on various scenarios we may find ourselves facing during the 2020-2021 academic year. These individuals are carefully thinking through details large and small in an effort to help us be as prepared as possible, and the health and safety of our campus community is at the center of every discussion.

An outcome of this work will be COVID-19 Operation Guidelines. This document outlines four possible levels of operation, ranging from a world where COVID-19 is being effectively treated or a vaccine has been developed, to a worst-case scenario, to possibilities in between. The intent is to try and clearly outline how things might look when classes resume in the fall, and what action might be taken if things change with COVID-19.

From this work, we have identified two important steps to begin resuming some of our operations with modifications.

First, in-person campus visits will be offered again beginning today, Thursday, May 21. There will be a number of precautions in place to protect the health and safety of our guests and employees. We will also continue offering virtual visits for those who prefer it, but we look forward to welcoming students and families to campus in-person once again.

Second, a small group of employees who have been working remotely since March will rejoin the 70 of us who have remained on campus since the start of the pandemic. Others will return to campus slowly as time and circumstances allow. These individuals will be following guidelines such as checking their temperature before arriving at work, continuing social distancing measures, and making modifications to work spaces if appropriate.

These are merely first steps that will continue to evolve as circumstances change, but our goal remains to give you as much information as we can so you can be confident that we are monitoring, planning, and preparing. Every single person on this campus matters, and as such, this work matters very much, too.

In that spirit, we are planning a live streaming event sometime in July to walk through some of the guidelines and to keep our conversation going. Keep an eye on your inbox for more information.

My continued thanks to everyone for your patience amidst these uncertain times. I am looking forward to fall semester and the brighter days ahead.

Be well,

John Reynders