Hoping for a ‘normal’ re-opening in fall
President Armacost’s letter and video include info on fall re-opening plans, legislative issues, more
A major UND goal for the fall semester is to re-open the campus in the same manner we did before the pandemic, which would mean face-to-face classes, campus activities and events, and normal dining and rooming arrangements. Yesterday, we received great news from Gov. Doug Burgum’s office that will help make this a reality.
Sometime before the start of the fall semester, vaccinations will be available for higher education faculty, staff and administration under Phase 1C of the federal government’s essential worker list. What’s more, if we aren’t in Phase 1C by July 1, the state will reprioritize to ensure our faculty, staff, and administrators are vaccinated prior to the start of the fall semester. We are working with the City of Grand Forks on where University employees will be vaccinated – either on campus or through Altru. In the meantime, those who meet the Phase 1B requirements should register for vaccinations as they become available.
While this is a very encouraging development, testing remains a vital necessity. We’ve made every effort for COVID-19 testing to be as quick and easy as possible. Preventative measures, testing and tracing are how we keep the virus and its variants under control on campus. I strongly urge all members of our University community to think of others and their health by getting tested regularly.
One of the unique aspects I’ve come to appreciate about North Dakota since arriving on campus last summer is the access we have to our government officials at all levels. Last week, I got a sense of the experiential learning we provide for our students when I went to Bismarck to testify UND before the Senate Appropriations Committee. The North Dakota Legislature is dealing with nearly a thousand bill drafts representing a wide variety of interests. It’s what government “by the people and for the people” looks like, and the experience strengthened my gratitude for how our state’s legislators conduct the public’s business every two years.
And just a reminder: If you provide legislative testimony based on your interest or expertise, please say that you’re offering your personal views, which don’t represent the opinions of UND or the NDUS. Thank you!
I also want to highlight an important strategic event that impacts all of us at UND: The University’s accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. Interim Provost Debbie Storrs leads an effort requiring the support from organizations across the entire campus. This is not only about the academic programs, but also about how we operate services and programs supporting our students, how we plan strategically for the future, how we ensure our faculty and staff have the support they need, and how we enact the public trust as we execute our mission of developing leaders.
An upcoming event students might want to check out is UND’s Spring 2021 Virtual Career Expo on Tuesday, Feb. 2, from 1-7 p.m. Registration is open at UND.joinhandshake.com. It’s a great way to explore internships and job opportunities, research companies and ask them questions. UND Career Services can assist in you in reaching the more than 80 potential regional and national employers participating in the expo.
Until next time, look out for each other, show your gratitude for one another, and please show your love and support for each other.