Goddard College is committed to the health and safety of its students, and employees; and to playing an active role in responding to COVID-19 in the larger community and beyond. This page provides an update of our current efforts and activities, and it will be updated as circumstances change.
Fall 2020 Residencies
In light of the on-going public health threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting uncertainty that it is causing for the future, the College has decided to offer its fall semester residencies virtually beginning with the MFA in Creative Writing program in July. We don’t want to add to the pressures students are facing, wondering if it will be safe to travel, if they can afford to travel, and/or if they can further disrupt their lives to be away for a week. Likewise, we want students to have the best possible residency experience and there are still too many factors in play with social distancing measures, the gradual reopening of the economy, and potential flare-ups of the virus to plan effectively for on-site residencies. Students will be instructed in how their virtual residency will work by their program and other academic staff. Our collective aim is to make these extraordinary times work for students, faculty, and staff in the best ways possible, to retain the experience of community, and to be as inclusive as possible. We are considering the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, and how best to serve students in this very difficult time. We will continue to post updates in a timely manner.
Status of Students Currently Enrolled for the Semester
Given our distinctive low-residency academic model, most of the Goddard College students and faculty are actively engaged in their academic work from home. All academic and enrollment policies remain in effect, including existing published due dates and dates for mid-semester check-ins, and extension requests. Students who feel their work is being disrupted should contact their academic advisor and/or course mentor immediately. Students needing support are encouraged to reach out to the Community Life staff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Policies regarding Extenuating Circumstances Extensions and Withdrawing from the Semester are available in the Undergraduate Student Handbook and the Graduate Student Handbook. Both are available on the College’s website: https://www.goddard.edu/academics/curriculum-guides/
Goddard College and the Agency of Health Services Wellness and Recovery Center
Goddard College was formerly in communication with the Vermont Agency of Health Services regarding the requested use of a portion of the Goddard College campus as a temporary Wellness and Recovery Center for people who are recovering from COVID-19. However, on April 10, 2020, Goddard College was informed by the State that the Governor’s Executive order is working, and that some facilities identified in the early stages of their response (including the Goddard College campus) are no longer needed to execute their response plans. As such, plans for this temporary use of the campus have been cancelled.
Ongoing Care Suggestions
Hand-washing remains paramount to personal safety as well as changing personal habits: no touching the face, regular sanitizing of counters, doorknobs and common surfaces, sneezing and/or coughing into your elbow, and staying home if you are feeling sick at all. Current recommendations for staying well and keeping others well include physical social distancing. Avoid crowds wherever possible and keep six feet of distance between you and others. For our most vulnerable populations, those with compromised immune systems and those 50 and older, the physical social distancing is the most important consideration. The next 2 – 6 weeks is a crucial time to stay socially distant and protect yourself from contamination. Reach out to community supports for help with groceries, prescriptions etc. For those who must still work or be out and about in the community, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer and be clear about no touching or social distancing. It’s more than okay to set good boundaries.
Physical social distancing does not mean social isolation. There are many safe ways to connect with friends and loved ones, and it is important to do so at this time. Consider starting a Zoom account so you can have virtual get-togethers with loved ones or use video calls from apps such as FaceTime, Facebook Messenger or Skype to name a few.
There are many different flu and virus strains currently circulating as well as the COVID-19 virus. We will hear about more cases of the Coronavirus confirmed in the next few weeks as testing protocols are instituted. Initially, treatment for all flu and virus symptoms remains the same – lots of liquid, bedrest, over the counter medications for aches and pains. Be alert for an increased fever or an ongoing dry cough. Call your doctor and check in with them to determine what other action should be taken at what point in your symptom development.
You will be receiving ongoing letters from Community Life as we are in this crisis period together. Student Life Coordinator Liz Medina will send out some further news about health tips. Access and Disability Support Coordinator Suzy Shedd will create notes for students about study habits and Anne Connor will suggest helpful ideas about staying grounded, focused and present during this time of unprecedented global stress. Community Life wants to be in touch and supportive at this time.
Employee Work Disruption
Faculty who feel their work is being disrupted should contact their program director/lead faculty member, the Academic Affairs Office (email@example.com), and/or the Human Resources Office (HR@goddard.edu) depending on the nature of the disruption. Likewise staff members should contact their director supervisor and/or the Human Resources Office.
Uncertainty is stressful. If employees are experiencing a high level of stress during this uncertain time, we encourage employees to access our Employee Assistance Plan (https://www.investeap.org/).
Vermont Campus Events
In order to reduce risk, we have cancelled all events scheduled for the Plainfield, VT campus until further notice. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates as soon as they are available.
We are following the VT State guideline for limited re-opening of the Eliot D. Pratt Library for in-person Library Services and Space use Starting July 1st, 2020
For more information follow this link: https://www.goddard.edu/lits/
Actions Taken at the Plainfield, VT Campus and WA Instructional Sites in Port Townsend and Seattle
While students are not presently on site in Plainfield, Port Townsend, and Seattle, the safety and health of Goddard College employees is a high priority. As such, we have taken the following steps:
- All employees who can work remotely are working remotely. While working remotely, we are asking that supervisors and employees maintain daily scheduled phone or Zoom check-ins.
- All employees are using telephone and Zoom meetings instead of face-to-face meetings.
- We require that employees not report to work while experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, chills or fatigue. No employee should hold in person meetings in any locations if experiencing these symptoms.
- All employees are asked to wash their hands frequently with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds, and to cover their mouth with tissues whenever they sneeze, and discard used tissues in the trash.
- Avoid people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces.
Spring 2020 MFAIA Residency
The last residency of the spring 2020 semester, MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts in Port Townsend WA, took place March 20 – 28, 2020. It was conducted in a virtual format. The move to an online format for the MFAIA-WA residency was in direct response to the health and safety risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. While the College had already decided to shift the residency from in-person to virtual, a subsequent directive Washington’s Governor Inslee prohibiting on-campus instruction at all post-secondary institutions in Washington State made the shift mandatory.
Students, faculty, and staff directly impacted by this change received more detailed information about these plans, and worked together to create an enriching and vibrant virtual residency experience. While our academic model benefits from the periodic physical gathering of faculty and students for deep and authentic learning, we have seen that the mixed media artists of this program were able to come together to create something beautiful and meaningful out of these unexpected circumstances. In fact, as an experimental and experimenting college, we look forward to using this unexpected collection of events to experiment and explore new possibilities together.
Any travel for official Goddard College business that is scheduled through May 15 must be submitted to the Executive Leadership Team for review prior to reservation. All international travel is suspended and we ask that employees minimize domestic travel for college purposes until further notice. Travel requests should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goddard College Community Radio Response
In response to a national effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, WGDR, Goddard College Community Radio, is suspending live programming and access to the station effective immediately. Station staff will continue to air those local programs whose producers have the means to produce remotely.
Management is is working on a safe alternative for the quick return of all live, local programming as soon as possible. There will be no interruption of WGDR’s syndicated Pacifica programming, or its World Music catalogue.
We at WGDR regret, but respect the distancing that comes with this national emergency. We wish our listening community wellness and heart during these challenging times.
Questions, concerns, or media inquiries can be directed to Presidents.Office@Goddard.edu.
Recommended Resources to Learn More About COVID-19
For more detailed and current information about COVID-19, please consult the following sources:
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- World Health Organization Updates
- Vermont Department of Health Updates
- Johns Hopkins Center for Health and Security
The New England Commission for Higher Education (NECHE) Accreditation Visit
Many in the community know that Goddard College is scheduled for an important 10-year accreditation site visit related to our comprehensive evaluation by the College’s accrediting agency, the New England Association of Higher Education (NECHE). In response to public health concerns related to COVID-19, NECHE has been assessing and rescheduling planned spring site visits as needed. Goddard’s site visit, originally scheduled to take place in mid-April, will now take place virtually July 19-22, 2020.
The public is invited to submit comments about the institution to the New England Commission of Higher Education using this link: Public Comment
Information about the Comprehensive Evaluation process is available here: https://www.neche.org/institutional-evaluations/comprehensive-evaluation/