Where we stand as Erie County enters "yellow phase"
Posted: May 8, 2020
Today marks Erie County’s launch into the yellow phase under Pennsylvania’s gradual loosening of restrictions that were set in place nearly two months ago to limit the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The only workers currently scheduled to come back to campus more regularly over the next couple of weeks will be maintenance, grounds and custodial employees. They will begin preparing the dorms and our other campus buildings for the return of the rest of us later this summer and for our students in August.
Under the state’s guidance for communities operating in the yellow phase, those who can work from home are encouraged to keep doing so – and so it will be at Gannon until further notice.
We have a lot of work to do before we all return to campus. While we can appreciate the impatience many of you might feel as restrictions across the county are lifted, the campus and PA regulations are not ready to have us back.
To that end, three teams are working right now to prepare Gannon for re-starting its campuses in Erie and Ruskin this summer.
- OPERATIONS TEAM – This group is developing a range of protocols to address everything from social distancing to cleaning methods and from screenings to student housing. Each issue (and we have only mentioned a couple) has its own tangle of details that, honestly, will take some time to sort through. We expect to roll out protocols as we have them (such as the guidelines announced Thursday), fully understanding that we will adjust these as they meet the reality of being used. This team has been subdivided into three workgroups – a Return-To-Work group headed by Robin Williams; a Return-to-School group headed by Denise Golden; and a Ruskin team. Engaged in this operations team is Doug Oathout, Brian Nichols, Mallory Bottoni, Haley Figurski, Josh Eberle, Denise Golden, Les Fetterman, Jon Habursky, Brian Collingwood, Rick Johnson, Meagan McHugh, Becky Perry, Mike Dougherty, Sarah Speir, Lisa Goddard McGuirk, Brenda Boetger, Chad Indorf and David Barker.
- ACADEMIC AFFAIRS TEAM – This is the group that is working with the academic affairs community to design procedures associated with the re-entry of instruction and associated educational support services. The members of this team are Walter Iwanenko, Steve Mauro, our three deans (Sarah Ewing, Lori Lindley, Karinna Vernaza), Mark Jordano, Tex Brieger, and Kathleen Ellwood.
- FINANCE TEAM – This is the group that designed and then rolled out the distribution of both government (CARES Act relief) and university aid to our students who are most in need. Right now they are modeling scenarios to support the operational and academic plans that will be rolled out. Their ongoing work will be to continue to assess the financial needs of our students and the University as we re-start the school. Engaged in this team is Bill Edmondson, Val Bacik, Barbara Beuscher, Amy Doolan, Rick Prokop, Caprice Hudson, Donna Green and Katy Leonard.
We are doing all of this with the help of our friends at the health departments of Hillsborough County and Erie County and at Saint Vincent Hospital and UPMC Hamot.
We all want a safe environment for our students and for ourselves. We understand COVID-19 will be a fact of life for a while, but we are resolved to learn the best ways to live with it and mitigate its risks to all of us.
Being away from campus has meant two months of disruption to all of us, and particularly to our students.
As we plan for the next school years, we would also like to offer our congratulations to all of our graduating students in Ruskin and Erie. We hope you tune in tomorrow for our conferral of degrees celebration. We wish you the very best.
Whether you are a graduating senior or an employee, please know that we are here if you need anything and we are working diligently as you all are to make the best of this situation. We want to see you be successful, manage through the summer, and return to continue your education in the coming year.
If you have a question or a comment, you can submit it at https://www.gannon.edu/Questions-or-Comments/.
Thank you for your flexibility and persistence in this ever-evolving situation. We will continue to keep everyone informed as events unfold. Continue to visit https://update.gannon.edu for our latest decisions and for resources to assist you.