Action Steps Due to Novel Coronavirus

Special Announcements

Scroll down for operations and policy updates due to Novel Coronal Virus (COVID-19). Announcements are posted below chronologically from newest to oldest.

Friday, July 31, 2020

After a very deliberative fact-finding process led by the COVID-19 Task Force—including thorough study, surveys, and discussion—the decision has been made to return to campus in fall 2020. The Fall 2020 Opening Implementation Steering Committee had developed detailed plans and continues to work toward plans to offer a flexible educational model offering students the option to engage in distance learning or in-person classes, as well as the option to live on campus.

We continue to monitor the public health situation on a national, state and local level including advisories and mandates, and we must all be prepared to be flexible and prepared for potential changes. As a small community, Antioch’s size makes us especially well-suited to be nimble and responsive. By working together, and trusting our community to act responsibly, we can all move forward together to bring our community back to campus in a safe and responsible manner.

Visit the Fall 2020 Guide for details.

Previous announcements

Monday, June 1, 2020

Dear Antioch,

Of the multiple pandemics raging through our country and the world now, I believe the pandemic of racism presents the gravest threat to any future worth imagining or inhabiting. As is our practice in such times, the Antioch community rallied by students, faculty and staff members has begun holding space for mutual support and vital dialog. Tomorrow’s Community Meeting will offer an important occasion for joining and furthering that dialog. I urge you to attend. The College will have more to say subsequent to that gathering.

The remainder of this message relates to fall 2020 classes, about which I know all of you have been awaiting news. Executive summary: Antioch College will reopen this fall as originally scheduled and planned. Important details follow below.

After a very deliberative fact-finding process led by the COVID-19 Task Force—including thorough study, surveys, and discussion—the decision has been made to return to campus in fall 2020. The quarter will proceed as originally scheduled with classes beginning on August 31 and concluding before Thanksgiving.

Academic programs for the Fall Quarter will be delivered in a hybrid model (some courses face-to-face, some online, some offered in a mix of both formats simultaneously). Our hybrid model is distinctly Antiochian—incorporating community input and building on our tradition of affirmative consent and commitments to social justice. This hybrid model will provide maximum flexibility to faculty and students, and best fits the experience-based nature of Antioch’s progressive, liberal arts curriculum. 

Work will continue over the summer to address logistical challenges (including technology considerations, spatial configurations, and conduct and safety protocols) prior to the start of the academic year. 

You can expect that we will continue to adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols, as given by the state of Ohio, such as:

  • Ensuring minimum 6 feet between people
  • Working from home when possible and feasible for College operations
  • Requiring employees to wear face coverings unless they have a qualifying exception
  • Performing daily employee symptom assessments and requiring symptomatic employees to stay home
  • Requiring regular handwashing and providing access to hand sanitizer
  • Frequently disinfecting desks, workstations, and high-contact surfaces

Prior to the start of the quarter, the Offices of Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and Kitchens will devise and communicate protocols that address:

  • Housing Assignments
  • Class Sizes
  • Classroom Spaces
  • Kitchens and Meal Service
  • Staffing
  • Placement Testing

As a small community, Antioch’s size makes us especially well-suited to be nimble and responsive. I am grateful to the many individuals who have worked so hard on behalf of our community, and to everyone who has participated in surveys and discussions, to do our due-diligence. By working together, and trusting our community to act responsibly, we can all move forward together to bring our community back to campus in a safe and responsible manner.

Looking forward to seeing and hearing you at Community Meeting tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. An invitation will be sent to you in the morning.

With gratitude for your perseverance,

Tom

 

Friday, May 15, 2020

Hello Antioch Community Members,

Dogwoods are blooming on campus now and all throughout Yellow Springs. There are some beautiful trees in front of Main Building we can take as a beautiful sign of renewal and resilience.

I wanted to share some good news. All enrolled Antioch students are receiving emergency fund checks through the College of over a thousand dollars each. This was made possible by the CARES Act, which stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, supplemented by institutional monies to ensure each students’ grant was equal. As you might imagine, the response has been positive indeed. Here’s a brief sampling of comments:

“This is amazing news!”
“That’s so awesome to hear that the school is helping out and was able to get funding for this!!”
“Thanks so much!”
“Thank you for what you do for us; this is amazing. Thank you for your help.”

Scenario planning for the Fall quarter by the Antioch Covid-19 Task Force subcommittee and other College groups continues. While the situation remains fluid, we are on track to make an announcement for Fall plans in early June. As previously announced, JA Block courses will be held remotely.

We are also continuing with our current remote work arrangements with only essential personnel working on campus. “Responsible Protocols” are required for all employees, including wearing masks/face coverings when outside individual workspaces. For those who may need a mask or who have a medical exemption to wearing one, please contact Human Resources (hmontgomery@antiochcollege.edu; nraffoul@antiochcollege.edu).

I urge all of us to continue to engage with each other in community virtually and to continue to offer support and encouragement to one another.

I hope that you, your family, and loved ones are safe and well as we all continue to endure the current crisis.

Thank you, and stay strong,

Tom

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

“We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dear Antioch Community Members,

Yesterday, Governor Mike DeWine announced an initial phase of “reopening” the state as we continue to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. It is clear that this will be a slow process which will unfold step-by-step.

Inasmuch as instruction for the Spring quarter remains online, and the recommendations from the state and healthcare officials are to approach reopening with caution, our current work-from-home procedures will remain in place for the time being. We are reaching out through supervisors to assess workflows and how these are impacting individuals and teams.

We are announcing that JA Block courses will be held online. Students, please watch for details regarding registration.

Looking further ahead, we have begun the process of scenario planning for the Fall quarter through the Antioch Covid-19 Task Force subcommittee, the President’s Team, and other College groups. We are also tracking closely planning by member schools of the Great Lakes College Association (GLCA) and the Southwest Consortium for Higher Education (SOCHE) as examples. It is our intention to announce plans for the Fall as soon as possible, but probably no later than June 1st.

There can be no doubt that each day of this worldwide crisis brings a mix of better and worse news. No one and no organization can remain untouched, colleges and universities included. Word of the closure of nearby Urbana University last week and the furlough/layoff actions at the University of Dayton yesterday, fuel anxiety, pessimism and resignation. While those responses are understandable, they are not what motivates Antiochians to fight for justice in the world and the ongoing viability of our College. We will push on and we will push through because that is what we are built to do.

Remember there is an Employee Assistance Program in place if you need to speak with someone. Reach out to you supervisor or to HR if you need more information. Please know as well and always that your personal efforts are deeply and personally appreciated.

Stay strong,

Tom

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

“We feel like separate water droplets but we are also ocean.” —Jane Hirshfield

Dear Antioch Community,

What a strange and demanding time this is for you and for everyone. It demands many things from us, not least of which is the ability to stand amid uncertainty without losing faith in our individual and collective agency to make important things happen in the world. Our agency is more vital now, precisely because of the fault lines of environmental, economic and social injustice the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed.

I want to take a moment to thank each of you for the exceptional resilience, resourcefulness and community-minded spirit you have shown under these trying circumstances. Your adaptability, swift response and mutual care has been uplifting. Each day has brought challenge, surprise and yet–owing to the concerted actions of many dedicated scientists, healthcare workers, public officials and brave citizens–recent days have also brought reason for hope. At Antioch, students, faculty and staff have moved quickly and purposefully to adjust to the realities of the pandemic and the reforming of our College campus online for the spring quarter.

With the help and guidance of the College’s Board Executive Committee, we have also had to make very difficult decisions about staffing, compensation and the management of expenditures in the face of the crisis. Maureen Lynch, Antioch’s Board Chair, has led the Executive Committee and Trustee effort, which has involved multiple meetings and phone calls each day for the past month. Maureen says,

“In taking unprecedented action in these unprecedented times, the College will operate with essential staff, focusing attention on the needs of its most vulnerable students and honoring the needs of families and communities which have shifting responsibilities and needs in this crisis. The Board remains unwavering in our dedication to the College’s educational mission and recognizes that the College’s leadership team, faculty, staff and students are navigating together such uncharted and difficult territory.”

As a reminder, notices of measures we have taken to ensure the health and safety of our community, the education of our students and the ongoing viability of the College are on our website. Please be sure to look here if you have questions about any of the actions we have taken, or speak with your supervisor.

Current modeling suggests COVID-19 cases in Ohio may peak in mid-to-late April. However, while Governor Dewine’s Stay-At-Home Order is currently in place until May, there remains a strong possibility that the order will be extended and that travel from places outside the state will be carefully monitored and coordinated. Thus, we will continue to plan ahead for multiple contingencies, and adapt based on the latest information provided by the governor and other public health experts, locally and nationally. We hope and expect to make decisions regarding the July – August block and/or the fall quarter probably within the next four weeks.

These are difficult, stressful times and consequently it is natural that you may experience a wide range of emotions and heightened anxiety. Please stay connected within our community by reaching out to friends and colleagues.

Students: members of the Student Affairs team and Counseling Services are available to you whether by phone, email, or Google Hangout. If you have academic questions, please be in touch with your advisor, Academic Affairs and/or the Office of the Registrar.

For employees with questions about work or other concerns, please contact your supervisor; they can also help connect you with resources available through Human Resources, such as our Employee Assistance Program.

Early on in the pandemic, I was inspired by a note from Nobel Laureate Mario Capecchi, Antioch class of 1961. Mario beautifully summed up in true Antiochian fashion what it might mean to win victories for humanity at such a time. You can read his words here; and I hope you will take heart in the knowledge that separated even as we are by distance, our action as a small but mighty college matters and it is helping to save lives.

With gratitude for your perseverance,

Tom

Friday, April 3, 2020

Additional Actions In Response to COVID-19

Dear Campus Community,

The COVID-19 pandemic is utterly transforming lives, organizations, and communities each day and everywhere. Educational systems at all levels are being challenged to adapt quickly to these new and sometimes harsh realities.

Antioch College has already taken measures to safeguard its students, employees, and broader community from the immediate spread of COVID-19. And, in the context of the rapidly evolving circumstances, the College is taking further steps to respond while continuing to deliver our unique educational mission.

Like institutions across the country, Antioch College has temporarily curtailed on-campus programs and transitioned to distance learning. These changes have resulted in the need to adjust our work accordingly, including placing some of our employees on furloughs and asking some others to take reductions in compensation.

These actions allow the College to focus attention on the educational and individual needs of our students while navigating the crucial demands of the present moment.

Even as the College delivers academic programs at a distance through spring quarter, it continues to provide housing for a limited number of students for whom Antioch is their primary home.

The Office of Admission and Financial Aid is actively working with prospective and admitted students on fall 2020 enrollment. Admissions counselors and faculty read applications for admission on a rolling basis.

The Board of Trustees and the entire Antioch College community remains dedicated to the College’s mission and landmark values. We have confidence the steps we are taking will allow us to weather this storm and we are especially grateful for the continued support of alumni and friends—an Antioch education is needed now more than ever.

Sincerely,

Tom

Friday, March 27, 2020

Dear Antioch Community,

In light of the continued and unprecedented challenges we face due to COVID-19, we find it necessary to take additional steps to ensure the health and safety of all members of our community near and far, even as we maintain continuity of our educational mission.

After careful thought and consultation, we have decided to move all course instruction to a distance learning format for the entire Spring quarter.

Key information is as follows:

  • Residence halls will remain closed (except for those who have already been accommodated by special request).
  • Faculty and students can expect a communication from Kevin McGruder by the end of the day Tuesday to ensure that each of you has the support you need to make this a successful experience.
  • Staff members will hear from Hannah Montgomery about the impact on your work, and are encouraged to discuss concerns with your supervisor if you need further clarification once you hear from her.
  • Due to COVID-19 uncertainty, Commencement is postponed. While this is disappointing and creates challenges, we will do our best to ensure graduates and their families will have the opportunity to celebrate together on campus once a date has been decided.
  • Plans for courses and programs that will be available during the Summer block session (J/A block) will be shared as soon as it is available.
  • ComCil and College Council will continue to function by meeting remotely.

We are fully aware of the challenges of discontinuity and the loss of our on-campus experience. Please know that we are dedicated to doing everything we can to mitigate the losses, to take care of one another, and to find ways to bring the community together.

My thanks to each and every one of you as we weather this storm. We will persevere with resilience, flexibility, and our Antiochian spirit of collaboration.

Sincerely,
Tom

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Dear Antioch Community,

Today, Gov. Mike DeWine issued a Stay-At-Home order in response to the continued spread of COVID-19 in our area. The order formalizes the instructions given by Gov. DeWine previously to stay at home if at all possible and is effectively in line with the steps that we have already been taking at the College Under the order, people can leave their homes for work at essential businesses — which includes colleges and universities.

What does this mean for Antioch? The College’s operations will continue albeit predominantly in a more remote, online form. However, there are essential activities that must continue on campus, as necessary, during the spread of COVID-19, including activities in Residential Life, Health Services, Public Safety, Finance, Food Service, Housekeeping and Maintenance, Wellness Center (Pool Maintenance), Antioch Farm (Animal Care), Glen Helen Raptor Center (Animal Care), Information Technology, Advancement. College operations activities not in this list, should have already or be readily able to shift to working at a remote location (Please see: https://forms.gle/FxJhoiqZ1mue6bkLA).

Area leaders should work with their teams to determine the staffing hours required to meet the essential onsite objectives for their area and make assignments to accomplish those objectives. Please Note Well: Even individuals in positions considered essential, should not come to campus if they are experiencing symptoms or have been around people who are experiencing symptoms. Self-isolate for at least 14 days and communicate your status to your supervisor.

As of today, the following campus buildings have been closed and should only be accessed by staff in essential areas or when absolutely necessary (e.g., retrieving personal belongings and/or needed work supplies):

  • Arts & Science Building
  • Wellness Center
  • Library (with limited pick up hours for mail to be determined soon)
  • Foundry Theatre
  • Fine Arts building
  • Weston Hall
  • Coretta Scott King Center

Please let Hannah Montgomery know if you have any questions about how the stay at home order will affect activities at the College and be sure to regularly check out the College’s COVID-19 update page.

Thank you to everyone who is working so hard in support of the College and contribute to the health and safety of everyone in such uncertain and challenging times.

Take care, stay connected by email, phone, or waving from you windows; practice kindness, and keep calm. We WILL get through this together.

Yours,
Tom

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Dear Community,

In light of the quickly evolving circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic and with your safety and care utmost in mind, I am writing to let you know of the following actions:

CLASSES

  • Classes are suspended for Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13.
  • Course instruction and exams will be completed online for the remainder of the Winter quarter.(Students, details will be forthcoming from your individual course instructors).

EVENTS/TRAVEL

  • In keeping with the recommendations for proximate “social distancing” (not “emotional distancing”), we are cancelling all College sponsored events until further notice;
  • Employees should avoid events, gatherings and travel on official College business until further notice.
  • Additionally, we are strongly encouraging all members of the community to practice social distancing, including attendance of events and gatherings.

CAMPUS SERVICES

  • We are revising safety protocols for essential services at the College—including the Kitchens, Wellness Center, among others—and will update you about these as soon as possible.

RESIDENCE HALLS

  • Residence halls will close as scheduled for the winter term on Sunday, March 22.
  • Students who need to arrange extensions should contact Residence Life as soon as possible; we ask all students to share check out and travel plans with RL staff.

SPRING TERM

  • Courses will begin online at the beginning of the Spring quarter as scheduled on April 6.
  • Note well that we are delaying opening of residence halls until April 18.

CO-OP

  • Students who are planning for Co-op term this Spring should be in touch with a member of the Co-op faculty as soon as possible to confirm your plans.

STUDENT BILLING

  • Please be in touch with Ellise Peryoux in the Business Office with any questions about billing for the Spring quarter.

NEXT STEPS

  • To discuss how these steps affect your particular situation:
    • Students: Please be in touch with Academic Affairs and watch for a message related to academic sequence change.
    • Staff and Employees: a separate email will be sent to you shortly.

A special task force has been formed to track the COVID-19 situation closely. The task force is chaired by Rick Kraince and includes Susan Lee, Gariot Louima, Kevin McGruder, Angela Moore, Roger Stoppa, Mike Fair, and Pan Reich. You can expect further communication and updates on a regular basis.

I advise you to check the College’s COVID-19 policy and resource guide for additional updates and more information at: antiochcollege.edu/novel-coronavirus

Please know that all the measures mentioned above are being taken out of an abundance of caution—rather than a sense of panic—to safeguard our community.

Finally, to each and every student: beyond ensuring your physical safety, supporting you and your learning is the primary goal of each and every faculty and staff member at Antioch College. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with your questions or concerns. We are here for you.

Thank you for your cooperation, everyone!

Sincerely,
Tom