Vice President for Student Affairs Daniel A. Dentino, PhD, was one of several college administrators interviewed by The Buffalo News about the enforcement of strict protocols to keep students safe upon their return to campus. The article, titled “Stakes are High for Colleges as Students Return,” can be read by clicking here.
In a separate Buffalo News story, Dentino spoke about how the pandemic is serving as a “teachable moment” for Canisius students and an opportunity for them to live out the institution’s core value of producing graduates who serve others and make the world a better place. Click here to read that story.
After months of hard work and preparation, I am pleased to welcome you to the start of the 2020 fall semester. While this is always a very special time of the year when we watch the campus come alive with the return of our students, this year looks and feels quite different after several very lonely months here on the campus. The pandemic necessitates we introduce a variety of new protocols for student life, academics and our general operations. Please visit our Return to Campus webpage to learn more about the college’s restart plans.
This fall we are delighted to welcome approximately 420 freshmen and 85 transfer students. Move-in day and new student orientation events that began last week, with all of our Covid-19 safety measures in place and virtual events for students and families, were filled with Canisius spirit. Please join me in welcoming our newest students and doing everything possible to ease their transition and engage them in Canisius life.
I acknowledge the trepidation and anxiety we may feel as we try to resume our routines for the fall. Families with school-age children are navigating a new set of challenges, health and safety concerns are mounting as we watch cases at various universities across the country erupt, and our eyes are fixed on the region’s infection rates. It has been extraordinarily challenging to balance the interests of our students who prefer an on-campus, face-to-face instructional experience with the health and safety requirements we all expect. I want to thank everyone for their tireless work and sacrifice to get us to this point. Now more than ever, it is critical that we do our best to preserve our progress by staying vigilant, following the guidelines, and protecting the health and safety of our community.
The stakes were raised just this past Saturday as Governor Governor Cuomo issued a new directive to colleges and universities in New York State: If we develop an infection rate for Covid-19 of 5% of the total campus population OR if we report 100 positive Covid-19 tests, whichever is less in a 14 day period, we must pivot to completely remote learning for two weeks. One hundred positive tests, even in a smaller community like Canisius, is not many, so we need to all work together to keep the infections down.
The Griff Pledge for Campus Health and Safety outlines the commitment each of us – students, faculty and staff – are expected to make to help reduce risks to health and safety and do our part to stay together on campus. Please take a moment to read and acknowledge the Griff Pledge. The choices we make in our daily lives can directly affect the well-being of our families, friends and colleagues, and will make all the difference in our ability to carry out a successful fall semester.
This semester’s attention also include our efforts to promote a more diverse and inclusive Canisius community. The recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others have ignited protests and long-needed, honest conversations about the place of Black Americans in our country. As a Jesuit college, we are compelled to engage our campus community in these challenging questions. We need to determine how we will respond to systems, structures, and attitudes that sustain racism. I hope that there will be many opportunities for these important conversations – and more importantly, concrete actions – throughout the semester.
Without question, we have some difficult work ahead of us, and I look forward to sharing important information about the state of the college with you at my annual President’s Convocation. Due to Covid-19 health and safety precautions, this will be a taped event and available online this fall. Beyond my Convocation address, the vice presidents and I will continue to provide updates regarding the status of strategic priorities, health and safety information, and other operational items through virtual town halls.
I wish you all the very best as we embark on this new semester. Let the observance of the college’s Sesquicentennial cause us to renew the promise of our mission, to commit ourselves to the search for God and for truth, and to pursue quality and excellence in all that we do.
With my prayers and best wishes for a successful term,
Welcome to the start of the fall 2020 semester! For returning faculty, staff and students, these early days of the semester are a time of excitement and fresh beginnings. For many other students, this is a special day that marks the first steps of their academic lives at Canisius.
Planning for this fall semester was like no other at Canisius and the college’s Covid-19 Recovery Task Force worked tirelessly throughout the summer to implement protocols ensuring a safe return to campus. Complete information about all the college’s reopening plans are available here. Below are a few highlights of the new safety protocols:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
Canisius College has distributed disposable facemasks, nitrile gloves, face shields, isolation gowns and coveralls to designated areas of the college campus, for faculty, staff and students.
In addition, for the protection of the college community, acrylic partitions have been installed at transaction counters in various locations on campus, including the Student Records and Financial Services counter, the library circulation desk, and the bookstore counter to name a few.
Facemasks are required at all times on campus when inside buildings and outside when proper social distancing is not possible. The following locations will have extraPPE supplies for any faculty, staff or student who may have forgotten their facemask, or have a need for additional PPE supplies. Please note, supplies are limited.
Faculty and staff should please go to the Human Resources Office, Old Main 100, the Office of Academic Affairs, BA-103, or contact Sharon Federico, executive associate in student affairs, at ext. 2130 to inquire about extra supplies.
Students should visit the Andrew L. Bouwhuis, SJ Library, the Office of Student Life in the lower level of Dugan Hall, or the Office of Student Affairs, located at Old Main 102, if they need any additional supplies.
Hand Sanitizing Stations:
New hand sanitizing stations are located in buildings throughout the campus. Free standing, touchless, sanitizer dispensers are placed at main building entrances, and wall mounted dispensers are available in corridors and other common areas. Maintenance staff will monitor these, but please submit a work order with Facilities Management if you notice a sanitizer station has been depleted.
Facilities Traffic Flow:
Signage has been installed throughout the campus to designate the flow of traffic into, out of, and through buildings. Access into all buildings on campus requires an individual to swipe in using their Canisius ID card. The card readers are located outside of designated building entrances. Those doors have been identified with a sign indicating “Building Entrance.”
Stairways inside the buildings have been designated for unidirectional traffic flow, i.e., movement in a single direction to help mitigate exposure to infection and reduce congestion. In general, center stairwells have been designated for travel “UP,” and stairs located at the end of corridors have been designated for travel “DOWN.” Please refer to signs located at the entrance to each stairwell. Elevator capacities have been limited to a maximum of two persons and face coverings are required. The following plan has been developed to illustrate the location of ingress points for campus buildings.
Offices: Paper towels and disinfectant spray are available for faculty and staff to use to maintain a clean and disinfected workspace. Please contact the Facilities Management office located on the lower level of Bagen Hall to request additional supplies.
Classrooms: These areas will be cleaned and disinfected daily.
Restrooms and high touch surfaces in corridors will be cleaned two times during the day shift and two times during the evening shift.
New Waste Collection Procedures:
Offices: Trash receptacles were removed from offices and employees are being asked to collect and dispose of their garbage as generated in the trash bins centrally located in the hallway. Recycle bins remain in offices, but employees are being asked to please empty bins as needed in designated recycle bins closest to their office.
Classrooms: Trash and recyclable receptors were removed and the occupants of the classroom are required to dispose of trash or recyclables in the containers located outside of the classrooms.
Directions for Vendors and Guests:
All vendors and guests of the college must be essential to institutional operations in order to receive approval to enter a college building. Guests needing access to college buildings must work with the sponsoring or host department at the college to determine access.
The campus is currently locked to ensure the safety of faculty, staff and students. Your campus ID cards will give you access to the building that you are permitted to enter (i.e. your office, residence, dining hall, KAC, or classroom). It is expected that you have your identity card on you at all times to ensure access to your areas.
The Jesuit Book Club will welcome Kirstin Valdez Quade on October 14 (4:30 p.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. PT) to discuss her debut short story collection Night at the Fiestas. The reading starts Sunday, September 6, and the collection will be discussed in a private Facebook group. To register for the October 14 gathering with Kirstin Valdez Quade, click here.
A bit about the book: With intensity and emotional precision, Kirstin Valdez Quade’s unforgettable stories plunge us into the fierce, troubled hearts of characters defined by the desire to escape the past or else to plumb its depths. The deadbeat father of a pregnant teenager tries to transform his life by playing the role of Jesus in a bloody penitential Passion. A young man discovers that his estranged father and a boa constrictor have been squatting in his grandmother’s empty house. A lonely retiree new to Santa Fe becomes obsessed with her housekeeper. One girl attempts to uncover the mystery of her cousin’s violent past, while another young woman finds herself at an impasse when she is asked to hear her priest’s confession.
Always hopeful, these stories chart the passions and obligations of family life, exploring themes of race, class, and coming-of-age, as Quade’s characters protect, betray, wound, undermine, bolster, define, and, ultimately, save each other.
Submitted by: Sarah Signorino, director, Mission & Identity
The Jesuit Antiracism Sodality will present a webinar on Saturday, September 12 at 11:00 a.m. ET, titled “Jesuit Education: Talking about Race in the Classroom.” The featured presenters of the webinar will be Br. Ken Homan, SJ, whose research focus is Jesuits and the labor and racial justice movements, and Justin White, a theology teacher and Ignatian ministry associate at Loyola Blakefield in Baltimore.