Dear UD Community,
We hope you are enjoying some well-earned rest after a compressed but in many ways more intense fall semester. We express our gratitude to the staff, faculty, and students who made sacrifices, large and small, to enable UD to be among a very small percentage of schools that opened for residential living and with the vast majority of classes in-person.
Earlier this month, we were happy to celebrate the accomplishments of nearly 250 students and their families who returned to campus for Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement. The Mass occurred outside on the Mall while the graduation ceremony itself was held in a large hall at the Irving Convention Center. While more subdued given the pandemic, it was such a pleasure to honor our graduates’ accomplishments and see the pride and joy of families present.
Since the end of the fall semester, our COVID-19 Preparedness Committee has continued its efforts to evaluate policies and practices for the spring.
At present, we are planning to continue most of the same COVID-19 protection measures this spring that were in place this past fall -- wearing masks indoors, maintaining six-feet social distance, and encouraging personal hygiene protocols. We will once again require COVID-19 testing for residential students prior to move-in, and will conduct random testing of residential and off-campus students throughout the semester. [The Spring 2021 Academic Calendar can be found here.]
We will continue our policy of holding no large events on campus, which includes a greatly reduced Groundhog Day with activities limited to only current students. We look forward to the day when we can once again celebrate this beloved tradition on campus with alumni, family and friends.
Our fall Rome semester was an incredible success, albeit with a slightly modified and shortened schedule. Dr. Peter Hatlie and his team continue to work diligently to accommodate Italian COVID-19 regulations in preparation for a successful spring Rome experience. We look forward to welcoming our spring Romers to the Due Santi campus.
We are also very pleased that our student athletes will resume competitive play in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC). The SCAC has put in place robust COVID-19 testing policies and protocols based on extensive discussions with medical and scientific experts in accordance with NCAA guidelines.
We will continue to evaluate and adjust our policies as circumstances change. For now, let’s continue our commitment to upholding the Groundhog Pledge into the spring, and renew our commitment “to live in a manner worthy of the call [we] have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love,” as St. Paul urges in Ephesians.
We look forward to welcoming students back to Irving and Rome in January, and until then, may God richly bless you and your families during this Christmas season.
Thomas S. Hibbs, Ph.D., BA ’82 MA ’83
All members of the University community--faculty, staff, students--will be asked to sign the Groundhog Pledge prior to their return to campus this fall.
University of Dallas
The Groundhog Pledge
Academic Year 2020-21
I pledge to take responsibility for my own health, the protection of others and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the UD community.
I pledge to:
I acknowledge that my individual effort and that of every other person on campus contributes to the likelihood of UD remaining open for this semester. I agree to do my part to promote the common good and well-being of my friends, colleagues, and the UD community by staying true to my Groundhog Pledge.
Health Center expansion: The Health Center will remain in the campus ministry space to accommodate COVID-19 testing and students sick with COVID-19.
Health Center supplies: The Health Center will maintain a stock of masks available to students.
Health Center services: The Health Center will continue to provide health services for all UD students. The Health Center has hired additional medical technicians and will work with the Dallas County Health and Human Services to assist with essential services and contact tracing for the duration of the Spring semester.
Contact tracing: The University will promptly isolate COVID-19 positive individuals and implement a contact tracing protocol to identify potentially infected individuals. People who have been exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be contacted immediately and will be asked to quarantine.
Student with COVID-19: If a residential student is diagnosed with COVID-19, he/she will be isolated in a designated space on campus, or in overflow space off-campus. If a commuter student is diagnosed with COVID-19, he/she will be asked to isolate in his/her own home, and given instructions on how to do so. The student’s parents/family will be contacted immediately. Meals and health care services (including assessment of mental health) will be provided while the student is isolated. Additionally, contactless laundry services will be provided to the students. Re-entry into campus life will occur after at least 3 days have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without use of fever-reducing medications, improved respiratory symptoms), and at least 10 days have passed since COVID-19 symptoms first appeared.
Phased Plan for Closing Campus: We will have a phased plan for closing down various aspects of campus life should the need arise due to an increased incidence of COVID-19.
Quarantine: Students exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be asked to quarantine in their dorm room or off-campus living in accordance with then-current guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Phased Plan for Closing Campus: We will have a phased plan for closing down various aspects of campus life should the need arise if the incidence of COVID-19 starts to increase.
Accommodations for high-risk individuals:
Training: The University will provide COVID-19-specific health and hygiene training for supervisors/employees/faculty (how to wear a mask, when to use hand sanitizer, what to do if you or someone you work with gets sick, identify high-risk individuals) and throughout the Spring semester to provide up-to-date COVID-19 risk factors and recommended protective behaviors.
Emergency Alerts: Should there be an outbreak of COVID-19 on campus, the University marketing and communications team, in accord with the University health clinic, may send out an emergency alert through the RAVE system. Regardless of whether or not this method of communication is chosen, the University’s COVID website will be updated daily with COVID case numbers and updates in order to keep the University community informed.
Daily health monitoring: Daily health monitoring: All members of the University community are encouraged to monitor their health condition every day by evaluating whether they have COVID-19 symptoms, such as those recognized by the CDC:
The University will provide no-touch thermometers in dormitories and in the Student Health Center.
Masks: All members of the University community and guests and visitors to campus are required to wear a mask in all buildings on campus, except when an individual is alone in a dorm room (or with a roommate), in an office, or private vehicle, or while eating (in which case there should be 6 feet between individuals). Mask wearing is not required in outdoor spaces, unless it is impossible to social distance (defined as 6 feet apart from another person). Students who do not follow this policy will be subject to disciplinary action under the University Code of Conduct. Anyone who does not wear a mask at a University-sponsored event or class will be asked to leave. Similarly, faculty and staff who do not follow this policy will be subject to discipline, and guests and visitors who fail to wear a mask in University buildings will be asked to leave campus.
Water fountains: Drinking fountains have been changed on campus so that you can no longer drink from the fountain but can fill up your water bottle. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to bring their own water in reusable bottles to minimize the use of water dispensers, minimize waste, and stay hydrated.
Travel policy: No professional, University-sponsored, travel is permitted during the Spring semester. To obtain an exemption, a faculty member or employee may obtain approval from the Vice President-level senior staff member of the University administration.
Hand-washing: All members of the UD community are encouraged to wash their hands under running water whenever possible for at least 20 seconds.
Hand sanitizer: Free-standing sanitizing stations will be located throughout campus. Sanitizing wipes will be available at the entrance to classrooms so that students and professors can wipe down their chair/desks as desired. to help sanitize. Cleaning products will be provided for employee and faculty use in every office on campus.
Social distancing: Please maintain 6 feet distance between yourself and another person while on campus-- in classrooms, elevators, stairwells, hallways, public spaces, library. Follow the directional signage.
Coughing etiquette: Cough away from people and into a tissue or your elbow.
Schedule for increased, routine cleaning and disinfection (daytime and nighttime protocols)
Minimize sharing of materials:
Common area policies:
Physical distancing plan:
The SCAC is finalizing Spring athletic competition guidelines. The University will update these plans in accordance with the SCAC final guidelines.
Visitor registration and certification: see Policy GV (Guests and Visitors)
Please review the November 2020 Letter to Parents, outlining our plans to move forward with our Rome program this Spring.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the University’s plans for reopening campus in the fall, please write to Executive Vice President John Plotts at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.