Published: September 1, 2020
To the Thomas College Community,
It is a very exciting time at Thomas College! After months of preparation and planning, our campus is once again buzzing with activity. Seeing our students begin to safely return and live on campus is one of the happiest sights I have seen since the pandemic began. Although we proved in the spring that we can provide high-quality remote academic instruction, it is the in-person experience that Thomas College offers our students—the relationships that are formed, the personal growth by living away from home, and the memories made—that helps create a full college experience. That is why we have worked so hard and invested so much in building the pathway that brings students safely back to campus for a deeply meaningful fall semester.
We have already begun to implement the Thomas College Return to Campus Safely Plan which includes a robust and aggressive testing strategy as its cornerstone. All faculty, staff, and students will be tested as they return to begin the fall semester and then half of our community will be tested each week (every individual will be tested every-other week) through December. Many students, faculty, and staff have already been tested using the less-invasive anterior nasal testing, and more are tested every day.
In the coming days, faculty, staff and students will receive an email from me with information related to their post-arrival, regular testing schedule. Please be on the lookout for this very important email. It will have the subject line: IMPORTANT INFORMATION: COVID TESTING SCHEDULE.
If we are to succeed this fall, I will need your help. We must not be afraid to hold ourselves and others kindly accountable to this and the other elements of our Terrier Pledge (if you haven’t yet taken the pledge or signed the consent form, please do so here). The minor inconveniences we ask all students, faculty, and staff to follow–like regular testing, wearing a mask, and social distancing—will give us the best chance to come together and stay together this fall.
Last week, College leadership met with our partners at MaineGeneral Health to review our testing and return to campus strategies. The message from MaineGeneral’s leadership was clear: Thanks to our planning and precautionary measures including testing, if any College can successfully hold an in-person fall semester, it will be Thomas College. Our ongoing work with the Maine CDC shows that the data is in our favor too. Thomas College is in the right state, in the right region of Maine, and we have the right mix of locally based students to make returning safely to campus a reality for our community. That affirmation was a huge vote of confidence and validated all the hard work that has taken place across the campus this spring and summer. It filled me with a huge sense of pride for all we have done to bring our students safely back to campus to live, work, and learn together.
This week, students will receive new information related to our Get Out and Live (G.O.A.L.) Program along with a student survey coming from Jim Delorie. Our G.O.A.L. Program, designed to encourage and provide opportunities for our community to get outside and enjoy all that Maine and our campus have to offer, has made some exciting changes and fantastic new additions to facilities and programming (outdoor movies, anyone?) After our conversation with MaineGeneral, we feel more optimistic than ever that we can safely provide every student a meaningful, engaging, and fun College experience on campus this fall.
Finally, my thanks and appreciation go out to each and every Thomas College community member for their support and kindness during these uncertain times. The College will always put the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff first to protect our community on-campus and protect the families that support our amazing students. If we work together and with your help, our plans can and will maintain the on-campus vibrant and social student life that is so important to the Thomas College experience.
For the most recent updates from the Thomas College community, please visit our COVID-19 web page at https://wwwold.thomas.edu/coronavirus. You can find more information about the Thomas College Return to Campus Safely Plan at https://wwwold.thomas.edu/coronavirus/return-to-campus/. If you have questions related COVID-19 and Thomas College, please email us at [email protected].
We have the chance to make this a great Fall semester. Let’s do this – together!
With deep respect and gratitude,
Laurie G. Lachance