Message From the Chancellor -- 8-13-2020
Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,
Welcome to the 2020-2021 academic year! As we look ahead to the start of the Fall semester on Monday, August 24th, I hope that you and your loved ones have been able to enjoy your summer despite the pandemic.
Across the Blinn College District, we have prepared to welcome faculty, staff, and students for the upcoming semester. When faculty and staff resume duties for the Fall semester, they have the ability to work staggered, alternating schedules when possible to minimize the number of individuals on campus at one time.
As you know, our Back With Blinn plan outlines the steps the College District has taken to keep us safe this Fall. This plan is available at www.blinn.edu/back-with-blinn, and includes a section specifically dedicated to campus health and safety. This page outlines Blinn’s plans to:
- require social distancing across its campuses,
- regularly disinfect campus spaces in accordance with Centers for Disease Control guidelines,
- require face masks at all campus locations,
- provide hand sanitizer for employees and students,
- limit the occupancy of restrooms and elevators,
- and increase the frequency of HVAC filter changes on campus and to use filters with the highest rating possible.
To protect the health and safety of our campus community, all employees, students, and guests must self-certify prior to entering any Blinn College facility.
Blinn has partnered with Ivy.ai to create an easy, one-step self-certification process for students and employees. To complete the required daily self-certification, employees and students can simply visit the Campus Clear website at www.campusclear.com to complete their certification via email, or download the app at the Apple or Android app store. Register with your Blinn email address and each day you will receive an email or push notification asking you to indicate whether you are symptom-free, experiencing symptoms, or have tested positive for COVID-19. Based on your response, the app either will invite you to join us on campus or ask you to stay home.
I encourage all faculty and staff to review the employee information section of the Back With Blinn site. This page includes information regarding employees’ return to campus, their health and safety, information for supervisors, and has information regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL), Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA), and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). For more information regarding these items, please contact the Human Resources Department.
Back with Blinn also provides information regarding the washable, re-usable facemasks and face shields Blinn will provide for each employee returning to work. For arrangements to pick up your facemask and/or face shield, please contact:
- Diane Zaborowski, email@example.com, on the Brenham Campus,
- Debora Kleiber, firstname.lastname@example.org, on the Bryan and RELLIS campuses, and
- Dr. Diane Lovell, email@example.com, on the Schulenburg and Sealy campuses.
This information and additional details regarding the Back With Blinn plan are available at www.blinn.edu/back-with-blinn and on Blinn’s social media channels. Through Thursday, August 20th, Blinn is hosting live social media Q&A sessions at noon on Mondays and Wednesdays and at 6 p.m. on Thursdays, where students can ask questions regarding the Fall semester, registration, and advising.
As Blinn continues to collaborate with state and local leaders and with our faculty, staff, and students, the College will adjust plans as necessary to support our top priority – the health and safety of all members of our campus community.
As part of that commitment, we will launch the new academic year with Faculty Convocation on Tuesday, August 18th. This year’s convocation will take place via Zoom, allowing faculty and staff to participate remotely. Employees can join the Zoom conference as early as 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday, August 18th, and the session will begin at 8:30 a.m. I invite all employees to join us for this year’s welcome from Convocation Committee member Wil Albritton and Board Chair Charles Moser, as well as my opening remarks and recognition of this year’s NISOD Excellence Award and Blinn College Teaching Excellence Award winners.
Despite the pandemic and the unique challenges it presents for this semester, we look ahead to significant accomplishments this year. Blinn truly is on the cutting edge of higher education, as we proceed with development of the science, technology, engineering, and innovation building on the Brenham Campus and the Phase II academic building planned for the RELLIS Campus, and prepare to open the RELLIS Agricultural and Workforce Education Complex. Just as importantly, we continue to develop the quality academic and career training programs that make these facilities so valuable to our students and communities.
With these exciting new adventures on the horizon, I look forward to supporting you as we launch another safe and successful Fall semester at Blinn College. Once again, thank you for your hard work and for approaching the year ahead with creativity, innovation, and resilience. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your departmental leadership, vice chancellor, or me and we will be happy to assist.
Mary Hensley, Ed.D.