Lessons Learned from the Fall 2020 Semester | Trinity College

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As Trinity College prepares to welcome close to 2,000 students back to campus in the spring semester of 2021 in February, the work to ensure the safety of the entire community during the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The plan made in the summer and the lessons learned in the fall point the way for the university’s mission to provide the fullest and fairest educational experience possible.

"The Trinity has a strong plan and our team remains flexible so we can evaluate and change it to move in the best direction," APRN, Hartford Medical Group Student Health Services Practice Director, American Medical Association Chairman Martha Burke O'Brien said. Trinity College Health Center. "Planning, testing, and contact tracking are the college's three largest and most successful attempts. These efforts made the fall semester a success."

The President of the Trinity, Joanne Berger-Sweeney, expressed her gratitude for the resilience, flexibility, and mutual care shown by the frontline personnel managing pandemic-related operations and the entire community. She said: "The scale of this challenge is truly unprecedented, and so is the scope of work required to meet this challenge." "It is important not only to say'thank you', but also to step back and reflect on what we have done together. Everything and what we can learn from experience."

Jason Rojas, Berger-Sweeney’s Chief of Staff and Vice President of External Relations, added: “The biggest takeaway is that we understand that a successful school year is based on those who follow basic principles, which are still easily Accepted. Of course, including wearing a mask, keeping your body away and washing your hands." Rojas currently serves as the vice president of student success and admissions management Joe DiChristina as the co-chair of the college.

. The members of the agile team represent the campus and meet at least three times a week to express concerns, discuss plans, and make recommendations to Berger-Sweeney.

Below, members of the Trinity COVID-19 Steering Committee and other campus leaders reviewed the 2020 fall semester and discussed plans for the spring of 2021.


Run by the sports director Drew Galbraith (Drew Galbraith), it operates like a machine. Many other schools have decided to take the minimum test required by the state, which is 5% of their resident population, but Trinity College tests every student twice a week, in addition to our staff, faculty and all branches on campus Test once a week. The Trinity bears the financial burden to ensure the health and safety of our community. In our contact tracing program, as long as we conduct a positive test, we can isolate that person and find their contacts within a few hours, thereby isolating potential cases and maintaining the health of the community.

The test began in the fall semester on August 17, and we recruited faculty, staff and students. In the fall, we conducted nearly 54,000 tests. As of December 1, we have 122 student cases and 16 cases among the employees and branches of Trinity College. The student case is divided into four different stages, each stage usually lasts 10 to 14 days. When we discovered the first few cases and conducted contact tracking, we isolated the individuals who identified and managed the spread on campus. A good example is that we had the largest number of cases in mid-October, with 56 students. Most of the cases that occurred after the initial wave are students who have been identified through contact tracing and have been quarantined. Through the contact tracking process, the students are very helpful, which helps us to limit the spread of the virus on campus.

We have not seen evidence of the virus spreading in the classroom. The spread is mainly related to the student housing groups in off-campus houses or student dormitories. We can include it before we see community-wide spread. On the staff

And those

All this has been handled well, but this work has brought great pressure to the relevant personnel, many of whom have been managing the issue since last spring. This is a 24-hour job, far beyond the usual scope of duties.

We initially trained 8 to 10 staff to help them with contact tracking. In October, we decided to outsource this contract to a trained organization so that we can have full-time personnel to track the contact between October and December 1. This helps us identify potential cases more quickly. In the fall, we have enough dedicated space on campus to isolate students who test positive. We are making more preparations for spring, just to make more preparations. There are many people who take care of students in isolation: our catering service partners in Chartwells prepare meals, staff in the student life department provide meals to students, Health Center staff are inspecting students, and our facility partners clean up everything at ABM Place day. Our community has indeed made great efforts to take care of our students.

For the people in the Presidential Cabinet and the University Steering Committee who deal with COVID, it is normal to work 14 to 16 hours a day in the past semester, which is not an exaggeration.

: Initially, we made many such plans in theory because we are preparing for things we have never experienced before. But we know that communication will play an important role in the ability of communities to respond to the pandemic. We know that consistency and clarity will be the key, and we need to communicate frequently. We must determine what information people need and want. Throughout the semester, we received a lot of feedback from various channels, including our communication advisory group and the Institutional Progress Academy Committee, and associate professor of psychology Elizabeth Casserly at the "Communication 2020" seminar Learning.

Last semester, we were able to produce some organized and supervised sports programs. Considering the huge losses that many teams have suffered due to missing the season, this is not something we can replace with practice, but it does give them time to stay in shape, make some adjustments and engage in some social activities to maintain pride. One thing is very important to our student athletes. In the fall, we know that 660 students participated in 435 college student exercises, 560 students participated in club sports and leisure activities, and 6,300 reservations were made in fitness centers and leisure spaces.

We have no evidence that the virus was spread during masked, long-distance, and supervised rehearsals or exercises. We need to continue to do this to help students not feel isolated during the pandemic, which may be difficult for them. We are doing our best to provide them with activities that are not just online.

President Berg Sweeney and all of us are very concerned about mental health. The epidemic and the response measures we are taking will certainly affect the mental health of students and our faculty and staff. Some staff members respond to confirmed cases of COVID among students at any time of the day, any day of the week.

Resident assistants and others in student life will continue to support students, and

A seminar will be provided for all students. We are also interested in providing more telemedicine options for students. Support for students is not limited to communication with family members. It is very important to keep the family up to date. They really appreciate autumn, so we will continue to do so. We should be proud of what our students did to make the semester possible in the fall, and we must continue to trust them and remind them of everything they need to make everyone return to campus safely.

This year's students have to adapt to this "temporary normal", and first-year students cannot start their college experience in the way they expect. They have to ask a lot. Considering this situation, the students greatly appreciated the progress of the fall semester, but some students were not satisfied, and they let us know. The parents also gave positive feedback, thanking us for our care and concern.

The fall semester is very different from a typical semester, but the teachers work hard to provide our students with an excellent academic experience. At the end of the spring semester, all of us quickly turned to distance learning without any preparation. Therefore, the faculty, staff and administrators devoted themselves to training and preparing new course materials for the fall in the summer. I cannot overestimate the role of the teaching center

Not only have to design the curriculum, but also let the faculty consider what this means to the curriculum

, And the possible advantages of each format. Overall, 39% of the courses in the fall are taught in person, 16% of the courses are mixed-mode courses, and 45% of the courses are completely taught remotely. Teachers can also choose a 10-week or 13-week teaching mode. Each course requires different class configurations and different ways of displaying course materials.


Unless you do blended learning in a space specifically designed for it, it is difficult to do well. The biggest problem we encountered was obtaining classroom audio for remote participants. We moved some classrooms around and had to wait until the January break to make improvements to other classrooms. Spring will be about fine-tuning the remote classroom experience and the face-to-face classroom experience. We invented the new process a week and a day ago in the fall; now, we can improve by adding more microphones, changing the room layout, and continuing to use the collaboration tools that teachers and students need to get the job done.

As a university, we have learned a lot about digital technology in education and how to use digital technology to expand the possibilities for students. But there are challenges: not everyone has an equal Internet connection; we cannot be as close as we want; and it is more difficult for students to establish personal relationships with professors, which is crucial. Teachers have done extra work to ensure that these relationships are maintained in any way possible. One of the exciting things that happened in the fall is seeing teachers can connect remotely between students and Trinity alumni.

 In January, we conducted a survey of students and faculty to assess the fall semester and

. We invite them to share their views on the progress of the semester and their recent academic changes (such as distance learning and academic calendar flexibility). The purpose is to use the insights from these surveys to enhance the spring semester and provide a basis for long-term plans in the spirit of continuous improvement.

This spring, the physical space in the hybrid curriculum has changed, which will enable remote students to become part of the classroom. Teachers will continue to engage in training, reflect on the teaching experience in the fall, and determine any changes to the curriculum. The college is committed to providing an excellent and rigorous version of every course expected by the entire university community, regardless of restrictions.

This university provides partial support to employees by providing extra breaks when employees or their families are sick. When they work from home, many employees are caregivers for children or parents, and we know this is very challenging. We are considering how we can provide benefits in this situation, thinking about people’s personal lives, and doing our best to meet these needs. Obviously, mental health is also an issue. I hope to see more people take advantage of the employee assistance program. For employees, it is important to consider their mental health and their physical health.

Employees are faced with the challenge of how to complete their work without having access to the office or direct contact with colleagues. Some have encountered technical or hardware issues, and some need training to help transition the process to the digital world, but Trinity's employees are enthusiastic to meet this challenge. It is very difficult to change long-term processes and keep communication channels open, but new communication tools provide a great help. The biggest challenge is to maintain a healthy sense of humor and maintain good mental health.

Although our situation is different, all the staff are under great pressure in the fall. Some people work in remote spaces at home, whether it's the actual office or bedroom, kitchen or even closet corner. The college is very supportive in making the campus office as safe as possible.

I think the staff has adapted well to this new electronic environment. Created an effective digital process to simplify paperwork, thus saving some trees. In some cases, we communicate more frequently, and with Zoom, we can communicate "face to face".

Probably the most important thing we have learned is that we are all real people, and our lives extend beyond what we encounter in the office every day. I think all of us have learned to be more compassionate and understand the external influences that may affect our work. Personally, I look forward to returning to the office. I miss the spontaneity and conversations that occur when I work on campus and participate in "public time" and other activities.

The way the community adapts has left a deep impression on me. I think this is proof of the strength of the community before the pandemic. Track and field staff and others intervened to run the test center, and everyone did what they needed to do. We have also seen creative ways people learn to socialize. Employees missed the opportunity to go to school and missed their colleagues. Therefore, the employee committee held remote gatherings, such as Zoom happy hours and holiday gatherings, which was really amazing. This year has shown us that we can use creativity and wisdom. The Human Resources Department will hold a focus group discussion with employees in February to discuss the experience of remote work. We began to study how to incorporate remote work into work plans outside of the pandemic.

How we enroll in the spring semester is very important. As in autumn, courses will again be offered in face-to-face, remote or mixed format. The 13-week course will begin remotely on February 8. Students will enter the campus on February 18, and the 10-week course and face-to-face classes will begin on March 1. Students should be quarantined before entering the campus, and must take a negative test, and then take three negative tests on campus before taking on-site courses. Before March 1, they can pick up light meals from the cafeteria and go to the testing center, but this is actually a quiet period, so we can assess and isolate asymptomatic or symptomatic people who test positive. By then, the class will have begun, which will help students to maintain this quiet period.

: Through our learning and the feedback we have received, we hope to make some communication improvements in the spring, some of which are already in place: add a link to the COVID website to the top navigation menu

; Add regular COVID consultation to Trinity Today email; improve clarity

And our

System; and increase the frequency of updates to the COVID dashboard. We know that this is a caring community, so in terms of care, it is emphasized that care is the motivation to follow health and safety regulations and has been effective.

The university’s vision of changing academic qualifications last summer had a huge impact on the spring semester, because the university is currently suffering from many diseases in densely populated universities. In the spring, we will have the opportunity to use some rapid COVID-19 tests, which can produce results in about 15 minutes. We will introduce the test to people who report symptoms and people in the quarantine area, so they don’t have to wait for a day’s test results, so we can isolate positive cases more quickly.

In the library, we are doing a lot of scanning, turning all stocks into numbers, shipping books, and providing zero-touch pickup.

Now, like the spring semester, we are preparing for the Trinity after the pandemic. We want to make sure that the community has the tools needed to get the job done no matter where you are. We believe that as more and more people return to campus, they will continue to rely heavily on digital collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, virtual computer labs, Moodle and Zoom. Our plan is to continue to focus on educating our community on how to effectively use digital conversion tools and support more mobile technologies.

Looking to the future, we are all worried that the mutation and mutation of COVID will make it more infectious than autumn. If everyone follows the testing protocol, wears a mask, distances themselves from society and all appropriate behaviors, then we can respond.

In Connecticut, educators may be eligible to start receiving vaccines at the end of February or mid-March. Because of our partnership with Hartford Healthcare, we are looking for various possibilities, as long as the state government provides vaccines to employees, we can achieve this goal.


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