Aquinas College forms task force for safe return to in-class instruction

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As the 2019-20 academic year concludes, Aquinas College is looking ahead to the fall semester. President Kevin Quinn has formed the AQ Opens Task Force to develop comprehensive and coordinated planning for students to return to campus for in-class instruction and other on-campus activities.

The group, which represents all areas of campus, has begun activities to articulate scenarios for a return to campus and has started developing action plans for those scenarios. The task force will work in collaboration with members of the campus community, state and local health officials and other experts.

Like many other institutions, Aquinas College shifted to distance learning, began telecommuting arrangements and reduced operational core services on campus in March.

“This spring, Aquinas College faculty and staff quickly transitioned to distance learning to ensure as little disruption as possible to our students’ academic progress while keeping our community safe,” President Quinn said. “Their efforts were nothing short of remarkable. In addition, their attention and care for the needs of our students combined with the perseverance of our students is an expression of the strength and values of the AQ community.” 

Plans for the fall semester will include new measures and precautions, health-monitoring protocols, cleaning, disinfecting, communication and clear guidance about how to return to in-class instruction while preventing the spread of COVID-19 and being prepared for any future surges in the disease.

“We intend to begin classes on time this fall,” President Kevin Quinn said. “The most important matter facing us now is how to do that thorough planning for our safe return to on-campus work and the establishment of our operational footing for the fall semester in a way that is safe for our community and the broader community.”

President Quinn noted that guidance from public health officials will play an important role in the planning process, and that the College’s activities will be nimble enough to pivot to stricter safety protocols if necessary.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on society and the way we will interact with one another going forward,” President Quinn said. “The world has changed, but we intend to provide as close to a traditional experience as possible for our students, while keeping our community and the broader community safe. There are many details to work out, but the health and safety of our employees and the community will be paramount in our planning.”