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Fall 2021 Progressing Towards Normal COVID 19

A Message from the President

 

July 1, 2021

Dear Huntingdon College Family,

For over 20 years, before I came to Huntingdon as president in 2003, I served as pastor of several United Methodist congregations throughout North Carolina.  One of my most important responsibilities was to walk with families through periods of crisis, illness, grief, and other disruptions of what had become their normal lives.  Often, these families would ask me:  “When will we get back to normal?  Will we ever get back to normal?”

When their lives had been disrupted severely, I would invariably tell them that they would never be quite the same as before.  Circumstances had changed; they must learn to adjust to these new circumstances.  Life would become normal, but it would be a new normal.  There would be a time of transition as they settled into their new normal.  I assured them that I, as their pastor, and their fellow church members, and most importantly God would continue to walk with them to support them, encourage them, and guide them.

At our beloved Huntingdon College, “The Home We Love So Well,”  —  along with all our sister institutions of higher education  —   we are walking through a prolonged disruption called the Covid-19 pandemic and transitioning to a new day ahead.   We have experienced college life since March, 2020, much differently than we did before.  I salute all of you for adjusting to these new circumstances and carrying on life in our learning community with excellence!

In the midst of the pandemic, several hundred students in the Huntingdon Classes of 2020 and 2021 have graduated and begun new professional careers or enrolled in graduate and professional schools.  Our faculty and staff have worked tirelessly to make the achievements of those graduates possible, and they are working tirelessly this summer to prepare for an exciting new academic year.   College life is becoming more normal again; but, make no mistake about it, college life will not be exactly the same as it was before March, 2020.  It will be better!

Our faculty are preparing to be better teachers than ever; our staff are learning new ways to support the living and learning enterprise; our students will have new and expanded opportunities to learn and experience all the other things that make living and studying at a small, residential college so rare, unique and worthwhile.  Some of our ways of doing things have been put aside, and improved ways of doing things have taken their place.

What has stayed the same and what undergirds this “transition to normal” is Huntingdon’s commitment to itself to live as a family.  “We are Huntingdon.  We Are Family.”  That’s not a slogan.  It’s a way of life that we have learned and lived for almost 170 years as a College of the United Methodist Church.  It’s a way of life that is at the heart of American citizenship, where individual lives are lived in service to the well-being of the entire community.

Commitment to the well-being of each other, of the entire community, is the core of what it means to be part of the Judeo-Christian tradition and a member of American society.  We make our choices, our life decisions, in a manner that helps those around us thrive and in a manner that protects their health, their growth and their future.   Think of it this way:  “When those around me have the opportunity to thrive, to do well, to move forward with confidence and success, then so do I.”

My senior colleagues and I in the Huntingdon Administration offer you these protocols in that spirit and invite you to live the 2021-2022 academic year in that spirit.  Our College is transitioning to a new normal, yes.  But, as always:  “We Are Huntingdon.  We Are Family.”  We have made it through the Covid-19 pandemic thus far, with excellence, because we have respected each other and treated each other as we each individually would wish to be treated.  That’s the heart of the Christian faith.  Let’s keep it up, hold each other accountable to that high standard, so that when this academic year ends we can look back and say to ourselves that life at Huntingdon is becoming better and better than it ever was before.

Faithfully your president,

Cam West

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The Foundation Preparation and Response

Based on public health circumstances, guidance and protocols will likely change, sometimes abruptly. Therefore, these documents could potentially be revised periodically in response to changing public health information.

COVID-19:

The primary goal of Huntingdon College’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is to promote the safety of our students, faculty, staff, and the communities with whom we interact, and to maintain our tradition of providing a unique, residential liberal arts experience for students from diverse backgrounds, while promoting a consistent individual and institutional economic stability.

RISKS CAN BE MITIGATED, NOT ELIMINATED:

Huntingdon College’s updated response to COVID-19 has been developed in consideration of advances in knowledge, resources and institutional experience gained from the 2020-2021 academic year. The Alabama Department of Public Health confirms that COVID-19 spread has declined dramatically since January 2021 but continues throughout Alabama and surrounding states. The Alabama Department of Public Health also confirms that vaccination rates throughout Alabama and surrounding states continue to lag behind much of the country with less than 23% of Alabama residents between the ages of 18-29 being fully vaccinated as of July 1, 2021. These underlying facts inform our planning and will inform our operations and protocols moving forward. There will be cases. But strategies have been developed to focus on ways that we can continue to educate our community better to avoid infection, reasonably modify our physical surroundings and actions, promote testing and tracing, focus on those at risk, and assist those who are infected to seek treatment.

Vaccinations

  • COVID-19 vaccines are now available for anyone over the age of 12.
  • The CDC recommends that you get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as one is available to you.
  • Protocols during the Fall 2021 term will be very different for unvaccinated vs vaccinated students, faculty and staff.
  • The CDC reports that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
    • Over 320 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given in the United States through June 24, 2021.
    • COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials.
    • The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA).
    • COVID-19 vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.
  • COVID-19 vaccination will help keep you from getting COVID-19.
    • All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19.
    • Getting a COVID-19 vaccine may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
    • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to help build protection.
    • COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. If you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, and others around you.
  • COVID-19 vaccination will be an important tool to help stop the pandemic.
    • Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.
    • The combination of getting vaccinated and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

In order to promote the safety of our students, faculty and staff, and the community with whom we interact:

Students are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possiblePlease inform the Director of Institutional Health when you receive vaccination for COVID-19.   Please contact the Director of Institutional Health at healthandwellness@hawks.huntingdon.edu if you need assistance in scheduling your COVID-19 vaccination.

Faculty and Staff are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible.  Based on available guidance from EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and other federal and state agencies the College is working to promote vaccination for all faculty and staff.

Faculty and Staff who decide not to vaccinate must sign an Employee Assumption of Risk and Waiver of Liability Relating to Coronavirus/COVID-19 as a condition of continued employment.

Please contact the Director of Institutional Health at healthandwellness@hawks.huntingdon.edu if you need assistance in scheduling your COVID-19 vaccination.

Protocols for Vaccinated vs Not Fully Vaccinated

 

Vaccinated Not Fully Vaccinated
Allowed to participate in voluntary on-campus athletic activities out-of-season and/or between terms. Not allowed to participate in voluntary indoor on-campus athletic activities out-of-season and/or between terms.
No requirement for in-person daily symptom reporting and temperature check. Required daily symptom reporting and temperature check.
No COVID-19 testing required for non-athletes, athletes out-of-season or in-season. Periodic COVID-19 Testing required for non-athletes and athletes out of season.  Testing required three-times weekly for in-season athletes.
PCR testing required if symptomatic. PCR testing required if symptomatic or as a result of positive antigen test.
No re-entry testing required. PCR re-entry testing required. Cost will be $75 with testing administered on campus following a schedule to be communicated prior to check-in.
PCR testing required if “outbreak status” is declared for an athletic team, Greek organization, Band, Cheer, etc. of which an individual is a member. Outbreak status will be declared at the discretion of the College based on related facts and circumstances. The College will be responsible for the cost of PCR testing as a result of the declaration of an outbreak status. PCR testing required if “outbreak status” is declared for an athletic team, Greek organization, Band, Cheer, etc. of which an individual is a member. Outbreak status will be declared at the discretion of the College based on related facts and circumstances. The College will be responsible for the cost of PCR testing as a result of the declaration of an outbreak status.
Isolate away from campus for ten days after a positive test result. Isolate away from campus for ten days after a positive test result.
No quarantine necessary after a close contact, defined as within 6-ft for over 15 minutes, with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Quarantine away from campus for a period of 14 days after the last close contact, defined as within 6-ft for over 15 minutes, with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Quarantine may be shortened by a negative PCR test on day 8 of quarantine.
No mask required indoors or outdoors on campus except as required by faculty in classrooms based on their sole discretion. Masks should be worn indoors except when in a personal living space or during participation in in-season sponsored athletic activities.
Eligible to participate in Huntingdon Travel program pursuant to meeting all other requirements. Not eligible to participate in Huntingdon Travel program.
No masking or social distancing required in the dining hall or when eating at restaurants during College sponsored travel. Masks should be worn when entering, leaving or moving about the dining hall or when eating at restaurants during College sponsored travel. Social distancing should be maintained when dining in the dining hall or at restaurants during College sponsored travel.
No masking or social distancing required in the weight room and/or other exercise/strength and conditioning facilities. Masks should be worn in the weight room and/or other strength and conditioning facilities.
No restrictions on social gatherings. Should not participate in social gatherings outside of College and/or College sponsored activities.

 

In addition to the noted specific protocols, please note that for the Fall 2021 Term:

  • Faculty at their sole discretion may require that masks be worn by all present in instructional settings regardless of vaccination status.
  • No faculty, staff or administrator is authorized to give permission for any students, faculty or staff to ignore established protocols.
  • There is no remote-only option available for Fall 2021.
  • Remote instruction will be available for students in isolation or quarantine.
  • Weekly required antigen testing will be provided at no cost.

Required PCR testing will be charged to a student’s account at a rate of $75 per test unless otherwise specified.

Personal Safety practices

Based on public health circumstances, guidance and protocols will possibly change, sometimes abruptly. Therefore, these protocols may be revised periodically in response to changing public health information. These protocols apply to all faculty, staff and students and are in addition to Protocols for Vaccinated vs Unvaccinated found elsewhere in this document.

Basic CDC Guidelines:

  • All students, faculty and staff should follow basic CDC guidelines:
    • Wash your hands
      • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in contact with those outside your normal work area, after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or
      • Sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow. Dispose of used tissues
      • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and
  • Cleaning of Personal Items/Spaces: Students, faculty and staff are responsible for keeping their personal items, work and living spaces
    • Cell phones, computers and other electronic equipment should be cleaned on a frequent
    • Personal lab space, classroom seating and work areas, dining spaces and Library and other study spaces should be cleaned before and after
    • Personal living spaces should be cleaned on a frequent

Huntingdon College Community Compact (pdf)

NCAA Division III Athletics (pdf)

 

 

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