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November 12, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff

Last weekend’s email update about the status of our Safe Together, Strong Together campus plan reminded us all that the effort was designed by health and medical experts with safety as its foundation. This foundation has proved to be invaluable with Thanksgiving fast approaching.

In following the plan, CMU’s number one priority is ensuring students return home for the holiday safely without transporting COVID-19 to friends and family. In order to achieve this priority, CMU is doing two things (1) we will shift to online learning next week, which is earlier than previously planned and (2) encourage students to get a COVID-19 test with a negative result before leaving to travel home. By moving online a few days early this will help the university assist students in acquiring a COVID-19 test before leaving campus. This way they know when returning home they will do so in a way that protects their family and community.

One challenge does remain as CMU transitions to completing the semester online. Many students don’t have symptoms and likely may not even know they have the virus. Because many students who tested positive are not very sick, all students can and should acquire a negative test before returning home.

In addition to ensuring safe travel home, as referenced above, CMU is moving online one week early to support the community and medical and health officials who have supported the university each step of the way. Moving online a few days early will allow CMU to repurpose some elements of the campus’ COVID-19 infrastructure, including the CMU’s testing site and some trained personnel. This effort will support the region’s strained testing and contact tracing infrastructure, and enable CMU to use the products of our plan for the benefit of the community. This is important for sustaining CMU’s partnerships moving forward.

Students, faculty and staff will receive more information very soon about schedules, timelines and testing. Campus officials will be available to answer questions you may have. Be sure to watch for these forthcoming communications from the Safe Together, Strong Together co-chairs.

In November 2020, CMU launched the Safe Together Strong Together: Future is Now planning initiative for the spring semester of 2021. This process will continue in the coming week building on the knowledge gained in 2020. The Future is Now effort will position CMU to garner additional success in the spring and in future semesters.

Leaving campus one week early is the right thing to do for the community. Finishing the semester online is the right thing to do for safety. As we approach Thanksgiving all should be thankful for the endless efforts of CMU students and the success of the Safe Together, Strong Together plan and the in-person learning success story it allowed.

Sincerely,

President Tim Foster