About Manchester

Weekly update - July 16


From: President <President@manchester.edu>
Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2020 1:24 PM
To: All Colleagues <AllColleagues@manchester.edu>
Subject: Weekly update - July 16

Dear Colleagues,

August is fast approaching and one of our biggest challenges right now is making decisions about fall based on rapidly changing circumstances.

If you have been following the news, then you know that the number of COVID-19 cases has been rising in most states, particularly in the South and Southwest. While Indiana has had relatively modest increases, we know that the virus does not recognize state lines. People travel, and spikes can develop anywhere in a short time.

Public health experts generally caution that this fall and winter could be very challenging for our nation and, with that knowledge, we are preparing for students to return this fall as safely as possible. Pharm.D. students start classes Aug. 31. For undergraduates and students in the athletic training and pharmacogenomics master’s programs, classes begin Sept. 2. Quite apart from academic schedules, we will have students returning to campus throughout the month of August.

Ask us questions

In an email Wednesday, I invited you to ask any COVID-19-related questions as they pertain to Manchester. Thank you for your good response! Some are answered in this email. You can continue to send your questions to health@Manchester.edu and we will answer them in future emails and on July 29 starting at 10 a.m., during an All-Colleague Meeting.

Colleague return

Our reopen plan enters Phase 3 on Aug. 1, with most colleagues returning to campus by then. As we announced in an earlier email, colleague needs and work group spaces vary, and a one-size-fits-all model does not serve Manchester and our campus communities well. That means that we will have very few “everyone must” requirements. Employees who are able should continue to work from home as much as possible and we will work to accommodate colleagues who are part of vulnerable populations or who live with people who are. If you have specific questions about your office or personal situation, talk with your supervisor.

We are also planning for how we will cover work and keep offices open if work groups need to quarantine at some point.

We will continue to share details as they are finalized.

Fall athletics

Student-athletes start arriving at intervals in August. We are meeting regularly with representatives of our conference schools and continue to monitor emerging guidance from the NCAA. As you can imagine, there are many details to consider, including travel, scheduling, spectators and more. Recent discussion at the NCAA level have included required testing for some sports and we are working on partnerships for that testing. The HCAC is discussing fall schedules and other adjustments to a typical season. We expect a flurry of decisions and recommendations by the end of the month which may substantially impact our current planning for athletics.

International students

Recently, the Trump Administration rescinded its policy that would bar international students who only take online courses from staying in the United States. The decision had met strong resistance from hundreds of universities and colleges and from some of the communities where international students live and study. Through the Independent Colleges of Indiana, we filed an amicus brief supporting those who opposed the administration’s policy. We were delighted and grateful that it was rescinded.

Employee assistance

These are times of great anxiety for many of us. There is so little that we can control about the future. Others are making decisions that will drive our programs, enrollments and revenues. Many of us are weary of working remotely or, conversely, being on the front lines every day. Beyond work, we are concerned about our health, the health of people we love, sending our children back to school and so much more.

I know we all say it all the time, but the sentiment doesn’t get old: Please be kind, compassionate and patient with those around you. On this email, I am again attaching information regarding our Employee Assistance Program. I shared with our Staff Organizing Committee that I’ve personally found an unbiased, non-judgmental listening ear to be enormously valuable during times like these. Our EAP is available for a reason, so please use it if you need to.


When you return to campus, if you haven’t already, you will notice signage designed to protect our community health. There are, for example, mask-required spaces and one-direction hallways and stairways. In some cases, furniture has been removed from common areas to discourage people from congregating.

All of these decisions were made with thought and care. Some may create inconveniences, but thank you for remembering that they are intended to help keep you safe.

Be well!


Dave McFadden
Manchester University