About Manchester

Weekly Update - August 13


From: President <President@manchester.edu>
Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2020 12:01 PM
To: All Colleagues <AllColleagues@manchester.edu>
Subject: Weekly update - Aug. 13


Dear Colleagues,

Our residential campus in North Manchester is taking on a good, familiar feel this week as undergraduates start moving into residence halls. Resident assistants (RAs) returned Wednesday, and Express Check-In Days – during which students move their belongings into residence halls and return home for a few more weeks – start Friday.

The excitement of a new academic year is building on both campuses, reminding us of the energy that our students’ physical presence brings to life at Manchester.

That said, we are sailing in uncharted waters and our ability to create a learning environment that is as normal as possible during a pandemic remains untested.

Ryon Kaopuiki, vice president for enrollment and marketing, reports that incoming first-year students “are just hungry to be on campus.” Many feel a sense of loss for how their senior year in high school ended and they are excited about turning a page and starting their college careers.

Abby Van Vlerah, vice president for student life who oversees retention efforts, reports similar sentiments among returning students. A few students are reporting COVID-19-related financial challenges and we have lost a few student-athletes disappointed about recent fall sports decisions.

All things considered, our fall enrollment numbers look good. The situation is fluid and a lot can change in a few weeks. For now, the feeling is “cautious optimism.”

Continuous evaluation: As we move through fall semester, we will keep evaluating whether we can continue operating on campus and in person in ways that mitigate our COVID-19 risks. Among the factors we will consider:

  • Are we able to house students in need of quarantine or isolation appropriately?
  • Are colleagues and students complying with prevention methods?
  • Are faculty able to meet the needs of an in-person experience?
  • Are staff able to meet the needs of the campus?
  • What are the results of student COVID-19 tests?
  • Are there signs of an increase in regional positivity rates?
  • What phase is the state in?
  • What are other schools in our area doing?

Parking reminder: I would like to remind you about Safety Director Tina Edwards’ email earlier this week. As residential students start moving in, we want them and their families to feel welcome and make their moving as easy as possible. To that end, all colleagues who need to be on the North Manchester campus on the following days are asked to park in the Science Center lot:

  • Friday, Aug. 14
  • Friday, Aug. 21
  • Wednesday, Aug. 26
  • Thursday, Aug. 27
  • Friday, Aug. 28
  • Monday, Aug. 31
  • Tuesday, Sept. 1

Other reopenings: Sister’s Café will reopen for limited hours on Aug. 24. In addition, the Campus Store will open for reduced hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 14-16 and will reopen for regular hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Aug. 24. You can always place online orders here.

Mask up: Demand for the Manchester University face masks remains so high, we actually sold out. They are, or were, back in stock, click here. It’s a great way to show that Manchester spirit is about respecting others.

Gratitudes: Thank you to Paula Avila, laboratory technician specialist; Teri Beam, director of pharmaceutical sciences; Erin Foreman, director of sports medicine; Lea Johnson, vice president for health science initiatives; and Beth Schultz, director of nursing, for helping to coordinate our COVID-19 testing plans with a laboratory in Kalamazoo, Mich. Testing for fall student-athletes, marching band members and RAs will begin Aug. 24.

Also, a big thank you to our faculty, who embraced the proposal for staggered class times in an effort to de-densify academic buildings. “They were awesome” and showed great “flexibility and adaptability,” says Celia Cook-Huffman, vice president for academic affairs.

Remember those words, flexibility and adaptability. We all will be asked to draw upon that spirit in various ways in the weeks ahead. Our hope is to give students on both campuses the best possible educational experience, while also mitigating the risk of COVID-19 spread. Our best chance for success lies in all of us pulling together for the common good.

No one does that better than the people of Manchester University.


Dave McFadden
Manchester University