December 22, 2020
Dear First name (firstName),
We hope you are enjoying your well-deserved winter break after a fall semester that was unlike any other. Please know how appreciative we are of each of you for your adaptability and flexibility, and for how you followed the protocols and procedures and allowed BGSU to remain open and moving forward. While not all universities were able to do that, because of your commitment and responsible action, we found a way. For this, we are most grateful. This global pandemic has pushed us to try new approaches to our academic and social interactions. We have not gotten everything right, but with missteps and mistakes come opportunities to learn and succeed. This spring, you can expect us to do better and improve.
Going forward with each day, we are a step closer to being on the other side of this crisis, but we also know that we are not there quite yet. There is great hope, but for a little longer we need to continue to follow protocols and protect one another. As we continue our COVID-19 planning, we want to share some updates on how we are approaching the spring semester:
- After feedback from our students, we are modifying our Wellness Days to provide breaks for our community to focus on themselves while also offering programming and opportunities that focus on our commitment to create public good. The changes in Wellness Days do not impact the start and end dates of the academic calendar for the spring. Below are the new Wellness dates, including one additional day.
- Thursday, February 18, 2021
- Friday, February 19, 2021
- Monday, March 22, 2021
- Tuesday, March 23, 2021
- Wednesday, April 21, 2021
- Timely COVID-19 testing is key to slowing the spread. We were able to expand the availability of testing during the fall semester, and we will start the spring term with even more free testing available. Students isolating and testing quickly should any symptoms develop, an exposure occur, or return from travel to a high positivity rate area will be key to our success in combating this virus. Testing will begin on the Bowling Green campus on Jan. 5 for returning off-campus students. For students living in the residence halls, we have partnered with Vault Health to offer at-home COVID-19 testing prior to your move-in. Before returning to Bowling Green, residence hall students will be mailed a self-administered saliva PCR test to complete. If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be expected to isolate at your permanent address and delay your return to your residence hall. More details will be shared in the coming days from Ben Batey, chief health officer.
- We will continue to coordinate with local, state and national health organizations and agencies on best practices for testing, quarantining and isolation, and contact tracing, along with other key health measures. You can also expect that we will continue to require face coverings and physical distancing on our campuses until we get to the other side of this pandemic.
- As in the fall, courses will be delivered in in-person/hybrid, online (asynchronous) and remote (synchronous online) modes. Select courses will also be delivered as “required in-person” where physical attendance is required. Special requests to participate remotely in in-person/hybrid courses were entertained during spring 2021 pre-registration. In addition, this fall was also a learning opportunity for our faculty. They are keeping at it, remaining committed to improving their course delivery. This month, many are taking part in additional professional development to better leverage technology, and where appropriate, adjusting and further improving their courses.
- This spring, we will continue to offer single-occupancy rooms, along with double-occupancy for those students who wish to function as a single household. As previously shared with our residential students, we adjusted our repopulation process to a phased move-in over five days. The Office of Residence Life will be sharing additional details.
- We hosted events this fall. We have learned much about how to improve social interactions that meet public health protocols. This spring, you will see expanded experiences in person, in a safe and small group format. Creative and fun virtual events will also be expanded. When we are back in January, I hope you stop by the Bowen-Thompson Quadrangle to enjoy some winter fun (you need to be here to see it)!
- Today, we are launching several opportunities to get connected this spring, including a virtual roommate and a mentor match programs. Visit our new Connections website today, and you will receive more information about events and programming soon.
As the New Year approaches, we encourage you to take these moments to relax, but also prepare yourself for next semester. While we are not through this pandemic yet, with each day we are getting closer. This spring, you can expect an even better experience at Bowling Green State University, and until then, we wish you and your family a happy holiday.
Rodney K. Rogers, Ph.D.
Joe B. Whitehead Jr., Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs