President Casamento: Planning underway for return to full in-person operations

President Laura Casamento stands in front of the ECJS building.

"...what we have accomplished together is nothing short of remarkable, and we should take pride in the fact that, thanks in no small measure to the work we’ve done, we have entered the home stretch of this crisis."

After more than a year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Utica College has continued to work tirelessly to return student to classrooms. Whether it's the shift to  virtual classrooms at the height of the pandemic, the College's aggressive weekly testing efforts since fall 2020 for all students, faculty, and staff, larger classrooms to allow for social distancing, or the many guidelines in place to keep everyone safe, every decision since the start of the pandemic has been with one clear goal in mind - safety of the Utica College community without the sacrifice to education.

It's with that continued commitment to health and safety in mind that President Laura Casamento recently announced that planning is underway for a return to full in-person  academic and administrative operations in time for the Fall semester.

"Of course, what this will look like when August arrives depends largely on the status of the pandemic and COVID response measures on the federal, state, and local level.," President Casamento explained. "That said, based on current knowledge, we are confident that a return to full on-campus operations can safely take place in August."

While it has been proven a challenging year for Utica College like so many communities, with the change of seasons comes a renewed sense of optimism and growing confidence that lives might return to normal in the not-so-distant future.

"While we know this crisis is not yet behind us and significant challenges remain, the increasing availability of vaccines and effective treatment protocols offer great promise. Whereas the experience of the last year has taught us to be cautious in our expectations, there is real reason for optimism as we look ahead to the summer and beyond.

However, while the future does indeed look promising compared to the year prior, President Casamento cautions a continued vigilance by all, noting the continued mandate of mask-wearing both indoors and outdoors, as well as social distancing and participation in weekly pool testing.

"In other words, all of the sensible practices that have done so much to keep us safe for the past twelve months. To the extent that we have been able to successfully navigate the shifting currents of this crisis as a community, this remains our surest path back to normalcy."

President Casamento went on to explain that provided testing results and the level of compliance with safety protocols on campus remain strong, the College will be reevaluating some restrictions currently in place with the intention of hopefully expanding leisure and social interaction opportunities for students.

"I have said this before, but it’s worth repeating – what we have accomplished together is nothing short of remarkable, and we should take pride in the fact that, thanks in no small measure to the work we’ve done, we have entered the home stretch of this crisis. If all of us remain fully committed to the well-being of our fellow Pioneers, we can look forward to the kind of Fall semester we have hoped for since last March. Let’s make it happen."

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