Dear Marietta College Campus Community and The Long Blue Line,

This weekend, our students will return to campus to begin another successful semester with in-person classes on Monday January 18. The extended break after the Fall 2020 semester, a long one for some, was well deserved, and I know our students and faculty are ready to get back into the classrooms and labs.

There are changes that have been implemented to help us improve our campus as we navigate through this pandemic, but one thing will remain the same throughout this semester: the Marietta College Cocktail. The proper use of facemasks, maintaining safe physical distances, frequent handwashing and sanitizing, daily monitoring of symptoms and reporting of symptoms are just as important this semester as they were last semester. The Medical Division of the Ohio National Guard has agreed to provide free testing through the second week of February, and we have asked them to continue to provide this testing to campus through the end of April. The tests will be conducted from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center on Tuesdays, which will allow us to have results every Friday. A link to sign up for the voluntary testing will be sent out to campus. We will also continue to track Marietta College’s COVID-19 numbers daily on our site — www.marietta.edu/covid-19-cases-reporting.

Though COVID-19 vaccines are on the horizon, they are not yet available to our campus. The Washington County (Ohio) Health Department has a link that our community is asked to use to help plan future vaccination clinics. You can use this link to access the form:

https://forms.gle/gemwYm27BT6Kv2ty7

Though some of our students are already back on campus, the majority of them will be moving in on Saturday and Sunday, January 16th and 17th. The Office of Community Living has reached out to them to coordinate move-in times and has provided direction regarding PioConnect. When students arrive for check-in at the Hermann Fine Arts Center, they will receive a bag that contains a facemask, hand sanitizer, a digital thermometer, and a magnet that lists emergency and non-emergency medical and counseling contact information.

During the break, members of Academic Affairs, Physical Plant and Information Technology worked tirelessly on making changes to the learning and living spaces on campus to further help reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19. You will notice that classroom seating will be more spread out and there will be tape markers on the floor that serve as guidance for this improved distancing. Please do not remove the tape or move the furniture (desks, chairs, tables, etc.) as these changes will help us significantly reduce the number of quarantines necessary stemming from contact tracing. The self-help cleaning kits in the classrooms have also been restocked and now include non-bleach cleaner that sanitizes surfaces in one minute.

Another welcome change comes from Dining Services. Our partners at Parkhurst will once again offer the Green-to-Go boxes to eliminate the packaging waste that was necessary last semester. Also, the DBRC will have auxiliary seating for dining from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. For students who need to quarantine, the College’s Food Pantry received a grant through the Marietta Welfare League that will fund snacks, which will be included in their food delivery.

Next Friday, January 22nd, Intercollegiate Athletics returns as women’s basketball competes at home against Otterbein University, and the men’s team travels to take on the Cardinals. The OAC is not allowing fans in the stands but we will be broadcasting home games online at pioneers.marietta.edu. You can show your support by purchasing a fan cutout, which will be displayed during every men’s or women’s home basketball games and volleyball games. Orders for cutouts can be placed at https://development.marietta.edu/lifesize-cutouts. Today is the deadline to have your cutout ready by Friday’s first home game, and orders placed after 5:00 p.m. today will be available for future competitions.

Lastly, the College is hosting a virtual Town Hall Q&A meeting tonight starting at 6:00 p.m. on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube so our students, employees and family members have an opportunity to learn more about our plans for the semester and to ask questions during the broadcast in the comments section.

I look forward to seeing our students, faculty and staff back on campus soon. Though the pandemic has caused a lot of challenges, I believe it has revealed our abilities to rise to any challenge when we work together. Safe travels to campus!

Bring Forth a Pioneer,

Bill Ruud
President and Professor of Management