For the past several weeks, many of you have been involved in developing operational plans that will assist in providing safety to our students, faculty and staff under the circumstances we face related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the start of the fall semester. Having students on campus and in the classroom is critical to fulfilling our mission of providing the educational benefits of higher education to the citizens of our state, region and beyond.
Many plans have been finalized while other plans are currently in the final phases of being approved. I appreciate the hard work and effort to develop and launch these important plans as we continue to bring more faculty and staff back to campus and welcome our students back to campus in the next few weeks.
I continue to be amazed at the high quality of work SDSU staff has been able to deliver while balancing all of the other demands we each have in preparing for a successful fall semester.
But let me clear. Our goal should not only be to start the semester successfully. Our collective goal needs to be to finish the semester and get to the Thanksgiving break with everyone on campus and in the classrooms.
The next few weeks will be critical to the success of our university, and the Brookings community, if we are to reach our common goal. The foundation of our plans is implementing them by following the guidance as set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the South Dakota Department of Health. It may seem very challenging, and sometimes daunting, but our personal responsibility of working together for the next several months will help to create an environment that gives everyone the best opportunity to be successful.
Creating that environment means that we MUST do the simple things. We know that physical distancing, washing our hands, wearing face coverings, monitoring ourselves for symptoms and staying home if we exhibit them and being tested if needed are key to managing the virus. Adhering to them will be key for us to reach our goal of seeing our students leave campus at the Thanksgiving break following a semester of learning and growing on our campus.
Our workplace expectations are rooted in the safety and well-being for the employees, students, guests and public with whom we interact. Employees are expected to comply with policies, protocols and the guidelines outlined on the “Workplace Expectations and Guidance” document.
Our accountability to follow our plans is rooted in our core value of being people-centered. Being people-centered at SDSU means leadership is derived from service to others. It means we are committed to creating a culture where we all thrive and support each other as we continue on our personal and professional paths toward lifelong learning and growth.
As you know, we are living in dynamic times. You should anticipate that practices and policies may change. The face covering protocol is a good example and new information regarding this is available at this link. But also, be aware and sensitive to other changes that we may need to institute in order to maintain safety and a successful completion of the semester.
I sincerely thank you for your commitment to our university and the work that has been done to date. I also want to thank you for your exceptional efforts, your understanding and your commitment to working together so we can have a successful beginning and an even more successful end to our fall semester.
Barry H. Dunn