Dear Siena community,
I’m excited to have everyone back on campus as we look forward to the spring semester that begins today. While I’m proud and grateful of our achievements during the fall, we are committed to improving on our performance and offering an even better experience this semester, both in terms of academics and campus life.
Thank you for your compliance and patience with our intensive reentry requirements, including the increased testing, which enabled us to begin this semester at a “Green” COVID-19 status. Siena will offer expanded and more frequent COVID-19 testing this spring so we can better measure the health of our community and take action to prevent the further spread of infection. As long as COVID indicators remain in our favor, we all will be able to more fully enjoy an on-campus experience.
To that end, it’s very important that you abide by your signed student pledge, where you agreed to take active steps to protect the health and safety of your fellow Saints. The Siena experience is richer and more meaningful when we are able to enjoy it together.
We are starting our semester with a little over half of our courses being taught in person. We have deliberately spread out the distance between student desks in classrooms to significantly reduce quarantining requirements. The first week of April, tents will be set up across campus to allow even more courses to meet in person.
This semester, we’ve incorporated Plexiglas and expanded options at the dining facilities to provide for a safer and more enjoyable dining experience. Students also have enhanced opportunities for virtual and in-person engagement outside the classroom, and as the environment improves, we are prepared to offer even more activities. I refer you to the Marching Forward section of our website for detailed updates about academics, campus life, dining and more, as well as a link to the COVID-19 dashboard that will re-launch for the spring later today.
It is encouraging that hundreds in our community have already been vaccinated for COVID-19, and planning is underway to distribute the vaccine more widely across campus, including for students when they become eligible. We will keep you updated on this effort. Every time someone gets the vaccine, we all become stronger.
Protecting the health of our community is of course not our only important concern: we are continuing our commitment at Siena to strengthen the bonds of justice and equality. As part of this ongoing effort, on Wednesday you will receive an invitation via email to complete an important survey. The goal is to gather valuable input related to student perceptions so Siena can improve the environment and experience for all students. I encourage everyone to complete this important survey.
Saint Francis would often exhort his followers, “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” As we begin the journey of this spring semester, we follow this guidance by doing what is necessary to fulfill the student pledge. Then, as the threat of COVID-19 lessens, we’ll do what’s possible and before you know it, we’ll be flourishing. We can do this, and we must do it, together, as one community of Saints.
I wish you much happiness and success with the semester.