Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team | Updated July 2

In May, President Burstein established a team of faculty, staff, and students to research and recommend how to approach our learning, living, and working environment for the academic year 2020-21 and beyond: the Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team (LPPT). 

The LPPT is preparing three possible living and learning modes:   

  • Full Mode (high on-campus student residency, courses taught in-person and via distance learning)
  • Flex Mode (moderate on-campus density, with a mix of students residing on- and off-campus; a mix of distance and in-person courses) 
  • Distant Mode (like spring 2020: low on-campus student residency, courses taught remotely) 

The LPPT comprises five working groups, each addressing different facets related to Full, Flex, and Distance modes. Working groups consist of Lawrentians who bring expertise or important perspectives to the various planning areas.  The five groups are:  

  • Health  
  • Curricular  
  • Co-Curricular  
  • Outside In  
  • Employees & Legal Aspects 

See below for more information regarding each group, including members and work to date. 

The Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team’s leadership is comprised of each group’s chair(s), plus Ken Anselment, vice president for enrollment and communication; Jason Brozek, special assistant to the president and Stephen Edward Scarff Professor of International Affairs and Associate Professor of Government; and Megan Scott, associate vice president of communication. Christyn Abaray, assistant to the president, serves as project lead for the entire effort. 

Each group has been meeting separately to review current research from expert sources and apply its developing knowledge to its focus area. The heads of each working group have been meeting periodically, as well, to share progress, questions, and possible solutions. By the end of June, each of the groups will have completed its work and will share their findings to President Burstein and the Cabinet, who will consult with faculty representatives and the Board of Trustees to deliver their final plan in the month of July. Our goal is to move as quickly as possible so faculty and staff can begin working immediately toward starting the academic year. 

Preparing for the fall will be a full community effort, engaging both individual departments and offices and the existing committees within our governance structure, and we’d like to thank everyone in advance for their efforts to successfully launch an academic year in this challenging environment. Information about the SARS-CoV-2 changes every week. It is likely LPPT will need to continue to meet periodically as our understanding of the virus unfolds and campus and Fox Cities conditions change. If a policy change is needed after fall term begins, the LPPT would discuss options with appropriate shared governance.

Decisions to Date| July 2, 2020 

Upon the recommendation of the LPPT and following consultation with the Faculty Governance Committee and the Curriculum Committee, the Cabinet has decided the following:  

  • Classes for the 2020-21 academic year will begin on September 14, and exams will end before November 25 and the Thanksgiving holiday.  
  • December Term 2020 will not take place.
  • The Summer Institute will run on its usual timeline (August 16-September 4) but will feature an entirely distance (or online) curriculum this year.

A final decision regarding the mode of instruction for fall term will be announced by the end of July.

Five Working Groups 

Health Group 

The Health Group makes recommendations for sustaining health for all members of the Lawrence community in each of the three scenarios. The group regularly consults with many outside experts both within Wisconsin and around the country (e.g., the American College Health Association, preeminent health care experts in the state of Wisconsin). The group’s work is foundational to each of the other groups’ suggestions. 

Mark Burstein (chair), President 
Alice Boeckers, Executive Assistant to the President 
Mark Jenike, Associate Professor of Anthropology 
Kim Dickson, Associate Professor of Biology 
David Gerard, Associate Professor of Economics 
Chris Card, Vice President for Student Life 
Ken Anselment, Vice President for Enrollment & Communication 
Erin Buenzli, Director of Wellness & Recreation 
Jill Drier, Director of Health Services & Campus Nurse 
Rich Jazdzewski, Associate Dean of Wellness Services 
Amanda Marsh ’21 
Chau Le ’21 

Work to Date| June 25, 2020: 

  • A first draft of social distancing guidelines for the fall is currently under review.  
  • Members of the team are currently in negotiations with health partners in Northeastern Wisconsin to institute campus-wide testing and contact tracing. We hope to finalize a partnership within the next two weeks. 
  • New campus cleaning protocols have been instituted to decrease person-to-person contact. For example, custodial staff are focused on cleaning common spaces, and individual offices and departments have received supplies of cleaning products, along with cleaning instructions. 
  • Plexiglass barriers have been installed in several high-traffic areas, such as Brokaw Central and Chapman Hall, to help decrease the transmission of viral droplets. Additional barriers will continue be installed over the summer. 
  • Signage and other physical reminders about health and safety protocols have been posted around campus, with more planned for the fall. 
  • All campus buildings with a central ventilation system will be outfitted with new filters that exponentially increase air filtration and will help to disrupt viral contagion. Many systems across campus will be recalibrated to increase outside air flow. 
  • The team is currently investigating an advanced air purification process, bipolar ionization, to provide better air quality in ventilated buildings. A test implementation will take place over the summer to determine if the process is worthy of investment.  

Curricular Group 

The Curricular Group is considering how the University might best accommodate the academic program to each of the three possible scenarios being considered for fall 2020.

Katie Kodat (Co-Chair), Provost & Dean of the Faculty 
Brian Pertl (Co-Chair), Dean of the Conservatory 
Steve Armstrong, Director of Information Technology Services 
David Berk, Director of Instructional Technology 
Peter Blitstein, Associate Dean of the Faculty, Associate Professor of History  
Jason Brozek, Special Assistant to the President, Stephen Edward Scarff Professor of International Affairs and Associate Professor of Government
Tim Spurgin, Associate Professor of English 
Megan Pickett, Associate Professor of Physics
Angi Long, Registrar
Lezlie Weber, Director of Off-Campus Programs

Work to Date| June 25, 2020: 

  • Thanks to David Berk, a new web page is available that provides information on instructional spaces and models to accommodate CDC-recommended social distancing guidance. This remains a work in progress—measurements for all of our instructional spaces are ongoing, and we plan to include spaces in our fall room inventory that are not typically used for instruction. 
  • Briggs 420 has been reconfigured to give a sense of how a socially-distanced classroom would be arranged.
  • We are adding technology to several classrooms so that we can ensure that in-person and distance learning modes are available. 
  • We are exploring the expansion of hours of instruction to accommodate classes that may need multiple sections or a constraint on classroom availability. 
  • We are considering a schedule in which the two midterm reading days would be distributed throughout the term as single days without instruction, to provide breaks in the calendar for faculty, staff, and students. A decision on this option will be made soon. 
  • We are exploring adjustments to course offerings and modes of delivery to address the needs of the community in light of health concerns and physical distancing guidelines. 

Co-Curricular Group 

The Co-Curricular group is charged with reviewing each of the three fall opening scenarios from the broad perspective(s) of the co-curricular program. The group shall consider how each of the scenarios may modify or otherwise impact co-curricular life and offer recommendations on policy, procedures, organizational structure, events and activities relevant to each scenario. The group may consider also co-curricular impacts on personnel, student culture and campus life. 

Christopher Card (co-chair), Vice President for Student Life 
Christyn Abaray (co-chair), Assistant to the President & Secretary to the Board of Trustees 
Amy Uecke, Associate Dean of Students—Residence Education & Housing 
Bonny Sucherman, Assistant Director —Residence Education & Housing 
Oryan Brown ’21, LUCC President 
Greg Griffin, Director of Student Activities & Greek Life 
Curt Lauderdale, Dean of Students 
Linda Morgan-Clement, Dean of Spiritual & Religious Life, Chaplain to the University 
Kim Tatro, Athletics Director 
Sterling Ambrosius-Tolbert ’22, LUCC Student Welfare Committee Chair 
Jon Meyer, Director of Campus Services 
Leah McSorley, Associate Dean of Students for International Student Services 
Brittany Bell, Assistant Dean of Students & Diversity and Intercultural Center Director 
Yoly Anderson, Executive Assistant for Student Life 

Work to Date| June 25, 2020:

  • We are adding rooms to residence halls across campus by converting lounges and other gathering areas into living spaces.  
  • We are reviewing the health and capacity concerns regarding housing needs for each of the three scenarios (e.g. single vs. double housing options). 
  • Small Exec (813 E. John Street) and multiple houses north of the Conservatory are being reserved for potential student isolation needs.  
  • We are exploring ways to integrate new health protocols into the daily lives of Lawrentians and our overall campus culture. 
  • We are exploring what move-in and Welcome Week look like in Full, Flex, and Distance mode. 
  • We are developing adjusted programming for students who are residing on-campus. 

Outside In Group 

The Outside In Group will develop a set of parameters that address how we welcome guests on campus while protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. 

Matt Baumler (co-chair), Executive Director of Alumni & Constituency Engagement                                          
Christyn Abaray (co-chair), Assistant to the President, Secretary to the Board of Trustees 
Kimberly Barrett, Vice president for Diversity & Inclusion, Associate Dean of the Faculty 
Brian Pertl, Dean of the Conservatory 
Mary Beth Petrie, Dean of Admissions 
Karen Bruno, Director of the Lawrence Community Music School 
Mark Breseman, Associate Vice President of Alumni and Constituency Engagement 
Kristen Greiner, Assistant Director of Campus Services 
Jon Meyer, Director of Campus Services 
Joe King, Director of Facility Services 
Curt Lauderdale, Dean of Students 

Work to Date| June 25, 2020:

  • A university “Guest” will be defined as anyone who is not currently enrolled, employed by, or contractually affiliated with Lawrence University or the Lawrence Community Music School. 
  • We are currently in the process of finalizing a guest registration form and creating a protocol for its administration. 
  • We are evaluating density guidelines under each of the three scenarios and evaluating the impact of our ability to safely welcome guests to campus.

Employees & Legal Aspects Group 

The Employee & Legal Aspects group is charged with identifying issues related to employees working on-campus or remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as general legal concerns under the three density models.  

Kimberly Barrett (tri-chair), Vice president for Diversity & Inclusion, Associate Dean of the Faculty 
Jenna Stone (tri-chair), Associate Vice President of Finance 
Tina Harrig (tri-chair), Director of Human Resources 
Julia Messitte, University Counsel 
Mark Phelan, Chair of Faculty Governance, Associate Professor of Philosophy 

Work to Date| June 25, 2020:

  • On June 15, we welcomed a about a quarter of our administrators and staff back to campus as we institute the first of a multi-phase process to return more employees to on-campus work. Phase one is outlined in the Return to On-Campus Work for Non-Essential Staff.  
  • Additional guidelines on the next return-to-work phases will be forthcoming in preparation for the fall term.  
  • We are crafting guidelines to assist employees in their decision-making on returning to on-campus work. 
  • Frameworks are being developed for equitable access to flexible work arrangements to help employees manage work, health, family, and other responsibilities. 
  • We are working to understand and manage institutional legal responsibilities and potential liability associated with both on-campus and distance work.
  • We are evaluating changes to policy and practice needed to support employees continuing to work from home part- or full-time.