As we finish up the fall 2020 semester at Moore College of Art & Design, I’m pleased to share updates about how the College managed to maintain community health and safety after returning to campus in August.
Thanks to weekly batch testing, in partnership with Vybe Urgent Care, and our community’s overall excellent adherence to health and safety protocols, we made it through mid-November with zero positive COVID-19 cases on campus. Two remote-only student cases and one commuter student case, all diagnosed just prior to Thanksgiving, were attributed to community spread outside of Moore’s campus. Subsequent contact tracing and testing did not reveal any additional positive cases.
Our ability to maintain a COVID-free environment for such a long period of time has been a huge achievement for Moore, especially as others in the region and beyond have struggled to keep up with caseloads since the very beginning of the semester. This achievement is due, in large part, to our students, who each did their part to look out for themselves and their fellow community members during a challenging time. We take great pride in our students’ accomplishments and how they have managed to juggle the additional work of adhering to our campus guidelines along with their usual workloads.
Our success is also thanks to a huge lift from the College’s administration, guided by the members of our Pandemic Response Team. Since March, this group of staff and faculty have worked tirelessly to ensure that all local, state and federal guidelines were met and that all Moore students, faculty and staff remained safe and well informed. Throughout the summer and fall, we circulated updates via email and social media, and posted notices and planning documents to our website at moore.edu/coronavirus. We pledge to continue our updates as guidelines evolve over the next few months and into the spring.
For a quick overview of what we did this fall, please watch our Campus Health & Safety video below, which provides visual documentation of life on campus this fall and explains our most important day-to-day protocols:
Here are some additional highlights of what we did and how it worked:
ACADEMIC INSTRUCTION: IN-PERSON AND ONLINE
Our main objective was to ensure that new and returning students had the robust academic experience they expect and deserve from Moore. There was no one-size-fits-all approach, and each student's individual learning path was considered.
- Each student had the choice to go completely remote or to do a hybrid model.
- Every hybrid student’s schedule was reviewed in order to ensure a healthy balance of in-person and remote classes, with the majority taking place on campus.
- Faculty went above and beyond to provide the best remote learning experience possible, using high-tech equipment to engage students who participated from outside of the classroom.
Thanks to our Instructional Technology and IT staff members, we implemented several initiatives in order to ensure our faculty were prepared to teach remotely, even if they were on campus, for students who were tuning into class from home.
- We overhauled our learning management system, Moodle, to improve issues with access and equity, and to create a more engaged experience based on best practices.
- We used software to enhance the remote student experience, and trained faculty on subjects such as video conferencing, demonstration recording, and online collaborative critique.
- Moore’s Instructional Technology & Online Learning Coordinator conducted over 500 one-on-one personalized consultations with faculty throughout the semester.
A robust series of workshops and other activities are planned for January to continue to prepare and support faculty and students for a successful spring 2021 semester.
CAMPUS ENVIRONMENT & SAFETY PROTOCOLS
We communicated closely with students, faculty and staff throughout the fall 2020 semester about how we changed Moore’s campus to keep everyone healthy and safe, and how they could do their part as well.
- Masks and other face coverings were required at all times and we conducted temperature checks every day for students, faculty and staff upon entering campus.
- We expanded the physical footprint of our dining areas and assigned students to meal pods, to reduce the number of people in the dining areas at any given time.
- To keep students and faculty safe in classrooms, we rearranged equipment and created additional class sections. New furniture, including butcher-block tables and desks and chairs on caster wheels, allowed students to work apart and to shift as needed.
- Hours for studios and popular spaces such as the Fab Lab were timed in advance with staggered schedules to reduce crowding and to provide time for cleaning.
- Highly trafficked areas and high-touch surfaces received multiple cleanings per day.
- All students, faculty and staff received COVID-19 tests prior to returning to campus and were required to sign an Honor Code for Safety. Weekly batch testing continued throughout the semester.
- We collected information for contact tracing and encouraged everyone to download the COVID Alert PA app, in order to better assist in this effort.
We took precautions to ensure that residential students would be safe in Moore’s residence halls and provided them with the resources needed to keep themselves and others safe.
- Each student had their own room, per City of Philadelphia recommendations. Some had shared bathrooms, which are sanitized on an hourly basis.
- To account for overflow, we partnered with a local hotel to accommodate residential students in newly renovated rooms and adjoining bathrooms.
- Outside and overnight visitors were not allowed in residence halls, in order to keep students safe.
- In the event of a positive residential student case or exposure, rooms were reserved in each residence hall for isolation and quarantine purposes.
As we reflect on the past year, it is an understatement to say that the pandemic has thrown us all many challenges. However, these challenges have not been insurmountable for the Moore community, and we have been fortunate to turn them into opportunities to move forward toward the future of art and design education. We all look forward to returning to a moment when we can enjoy the social contact that the pandemic has taken away and now, thanks to the upcoming distribution of effective vaccines, it is only a short time to go. We are investigating how to capitalize on our health center partnership with Vybe Urgent Care to ensure that our community is protected when those resources become available, and we keep everyone informed when there is more to share.
On behalf of everyone at Moore College of Art & Design, I wish you a joyous, restful and safe holiday season.