Weekly Update - October 8


From: President <President@manchester.edu>
Sent: Thursday, October 8, 2020 10:26 AM
To: All Colleagues <AllColleagues@manchester.edu>
Subject: Weekly update


Dear Colleagues,

It is wonderful to see summer turning to fall. Leaves are beginning to change colors and the weather is officially “crisp.” I hope you have a chance to enjoy the sunshine today.


An alumnus wrote to us this week with questions about athletics at Manchester this fall, specifically asking about how we can compete safely. It was a great question and I’m including my answer in this week’s update. There is a huge team – coaches, trainers, health care professionals and others – behind each team and we are being careful and taking the health risks seriously.

So, let me start at the most general level and drill down. Manchester is an NCAA Division III school. That’s important because the NCAA has set the strictest guidelines for practicing and competing this fall. They require testing 72 hours before any competition and encourage surveillance testing when teams are practicing. (The ISHAA isn’t requiring testing and the NAIA only required testing when students returned to campus.)

Our conference – the HCAC – decided this fall to push all fall conference competitions to the spring. We allowed individual schools to decide whether or not to compete in the fall outside our official conference schedules. Several schools, including Manchester, decided to do this in some sports.

We chose to have limited competition for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, we believe we can do it safely. In addition to the testing required by the NCAA, we have all kinds of protocols in place to mitigate risk during practices and games. Those protocols meet and sometimes exceed NCAA guidelines and are overseen by the director of our health center here on campus. We are competing several times in football, cross-country and tennis. Second – and a distant second – is that we want to provide our student athletes the opportunity to compete this fall. Last weekend, for example, we held a cross-country meet on campus. It was run on the track and everyone inside the fence had been tested ahead of time – athletes, coaches, athletic trainers and officials. Everyone was masked when they weren’t running. We had parents in the stands and they were masked and distanced. Renee and I attended and I was really pleased with how careful people were.

We can do this!

I’ve heard the phrase “COVID fatigue” a lot recently. Each of us and our colleagues, students and extended communities are getting tired of the restrictions placed on us by the pandemic. We all find different ways of managing that fatigue and I want to remind you that you don’t have to carry that load alone. 

Our students have access to counseling and tele-counseling services and I’m attaching information about the mental health resources available to you through the Bowen Center, OC24health and Cigna. The Bowen Center flier has been updated since the last time I shared these.

As the weather turns to fall, we need to remain vigilant about wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing. Numbers are trending upward across the country and in Indiana, so staying the course in the fall and winter months is especially important for protecting our health.  And one more plug for getting a flu shot: If you haven’t, please do.

Stay safe and be well.


Dave McFadden
Manchester University