A message from the Safe Return to Campus Planning Committee, 10:18 a.m.

Dear Miami Community,

This week you received an email announcing that classes would begin, as planned, on August 17, but would begin remotely and not on-campus. This decision to start remotely had a differential impact on people within our community. Thank you to those of you who shared that impact with our committee.

We are grappling with the same uncertainty and changing landscape as you are. It isn’t normal, it isn’t comfortable, and it isn’t ending anytime soon. We encourage you to keep reaching out and talking to people in your community; these are not easy conversations to have, but they are worth it. Please keep reaching out to us, too, and know that as a University, we are listening and hoping for your collaboration as we navigate this together. 

As we continue to look forward to the start of fall semester, the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee is providing input and feedback as parts of our plan continue to evolve. We want to share with you four different areas where you can expect more change and information in the coming weeks:

  1. Testing and Contact Tracing
  2. Symptom Tracking and Absence Reporting
  3. COVID and Health Education
  4. Mental Health

Testing and Contact Tracing

We are coordinating with Tri-Health to build a sustained and systematic approach to testing on campus. We are also coordinating with the Butler County Health District on a reporting procedure and contact tracing efforts. And, in an effort to reduce the spread of this virus within our community, it will be important for all of us to participate in their efforts to trace that spread among your contacts. 

These partnerships are key elements of our plan to return to campus and details will be communicated as soon as possible. At this time we are not requiring a negative test upon arrival, but it will be important for all of us on campus to do daily symptom checks and be tested by a health care provider or at the university health center if symptoms are present.

Symptom Tracking and Absence Reporting

We are currently investigating systems that support individuals in assessing and tracking their personal health as it relates to COVID-19 symptoms. Additionally, a way to notify the institution of possible exposure related absences is under development for all faculty, staff, and students. 

COVID and Health Education

Along with testing, we are working on ways to educate members of our community about how campus life will be different while COVID is present and what we can all do to stay healthy together. The Healthy Together Pledge to the Community is one way that we hope to clearly convey the responsibilities of each of us--students, faculty, and staff alike. We are also providing advice and feedback on the creation of educational modules on topics such as how to check symptoms and the reasons we cover our faces and physically distance when around others.

Mental Health

Many of you have asked about how we will care for the Mental Health of students this semester. You’re right to wonder and express concern; COVID-19 has changed the ways in which mental health services can be provided, what services are needed, and also the demand for these services. We have been actively thinking and planning for ways in which we can support our community in the coming semester.  These plans are evolving to meet the changing needs, and are summarized here and you can find more information on the Student Counseling Services website.

We are all facing hard decisions about when and how to come back to campus. As you have questions about how to make your personal decision for fall semester, please check the FAQ page or contact the temporary phone bank at 513-529-9000. If you have ideas or concerns about the university plans to return, you can still submit them via our website. 

Love and Honor,
Co-chairs, Dana Cox and Gwen Fears