ENMU updates regents on plans to reopen
Last updated 6/27/2020 at 4:03pm
PORTALES — With the caveat that plans will certainly change based on state guidance and whatever public health orders exist as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Eastern New Mexico University staff updated regents on plans Friday to resume in-person instruction on its Portales campus.
Interim Chancellor Patrice Caldwell said the ENMU system, to nobody’s surprise, “is experiencing unprecedented stress points” due to the pandemic, but has seen modest increases in fall enrollment and could see some uptick in July when reopening plans are more concrete.
For now, Caldwell said, ENMU is working under the following timeline:
• July: ENMU employees return to work in stages. Caldwell said essential employees are already on campus, and a phased return will allow for COVID-19 training.
• Aug. 3: The campus will reopen to early arriving students and faculty. Campus services will be available online and in person.
• Aug. 15: Dawg Days and freshman orientation/move-in.
• Aug. 18: Classes will begin with face-to-face instruction, but classes will be offered in hybrid forms for people who want to continue online instruction and in case public health orders again eliminate face-to-face instruction.
Social distancing will be implemented in classrooms, residence halls and study areas, Caldwell said. While she envisions some adjustment pains because college is inherently a social setting, “I don’t think we’re going to experience problems once we educate.”
Jeff Long, vice president for student affairs, said students in on-campus housing would be evaluated within 24 hours of move-in, and random testing would occur weekly in residence halls.
Buildings will also have touchless thermometers anybody can access.
“The three pillars,” Caldwell said, “which I know you’ve heard over and over, are social distancing, masking and monitoring of symptoms.”
Noting New Mexico was bookended by Arizona and Texas, two states that have seen raised COVID-19 positive tests, she said both pride and concern could be ascertained.