Today Magazine/President's Report Fall 2020 - Page 8

PANDEMIC PLANNING

COVID-19 Closes Campuses in March ; the 2019-2020 Year Wraps Remotely
On March 11 , Gwynedd Mercy University ’ s leadership team made the quick decision to close all campus locations and switch to online learning to protect members of the GMercyU community from the spread of COVID-19 .
During a short two-week break , a plan was put in place to ensure students received the necessary resources for a successful transition to remote learning so their education could continue without interruption .
Our community also came together to offer support for our surrounding communities .
GMercyU ’ s Health and Wellness Center , Plant Services , and
Frances M . Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions donated a variety of high demand supplies , including N-95 masks , disposable gowns , disposable face masks , goggles , nitrile gloves , tyvek suits , and more to local hospitals and healthcare facilities .
The Respiratory Care Program donated ventilators , masks , shields , gowns , ventilator filters , and more to local affiliate hospitals , including the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania .
And , Campus Ministry partnered with Project Home to donate food supplies for families in need .
Opening Campus – and Staying Open – in Fall 2020
“ Stay one M . E . R . V . ( 6ft .) apart !” place the following for the start of school .
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This fall , signs like these throughout campus remind us to physically distance , wear masks , wash hands frequently , and wipe down work areas after use .
The GMercyU community is now used to following these safety protocols , as well as taking a survey and getting temperatures checked before entering campus . It has all become part of a routine designed to protect each other as GMercyU re-opened this fall with a hybrid format for academics , with some classes held remotely and some held in person – and with students living in the residence halls , one student per room .
Re-opening plans began this spring and continued all summer . Led by Director of Public Safety Joanna Gallagher , the GMercyU re-opening team included nearly every department and had to navigate constantly changing COVID-related news while taking into account that students , faculty , and staff would have varying circumstances shaping their own decisions about returning to campus .
To continue providing an outstanding educational experience for our students and a safe environment for all , GMercyU put into
• University-wide safety protocols and policies for sanitization , as well as monitoring and reporting health conditions – all reviewed by the Montgomery County Department of Health
• The hybrid academic model , crafted by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Mary Van Brunt , PhD , and the deans and faculty from each school . Additionally , faculty engaged in professional development all through the summer on best practices for teaching remotely .
• Technology upgrades , such as Zoom licenses for the entire GMercyU community , a mobile dining app for students , Internet bandwidth upgrades , and a VPN ( Virtual Private Network ) upgrade .
With a Mercy mindset , the re-opening team ’ s careful , collaborative , and measured planning allowed campuses to open , and remain open , this fall .
Find all details related to our fall re-opening plan , and current COVID-related updates , at gmercyu . edu / covid-19 .
Special Thanks to GMercyU ’ s Re-Opening Leaders Joanna Gallagher , Director of Public Safety Donna Ferguson , Director of the Health and Wellness Center Andrew Seaman , Director of Plant Services Heather Kaufmann , Manager of Environmental Safety and Campus Science Labs