In Historic 95th Anniversary Year, Vigilance Pays Off As Albertus Magnus College Reaches Thanksgiving Break

Catholic, Dominican College Reminding its Students to Keep Guard Up During Approaching Winter Holidays

New Haven, Conn., November 19, 2020 – With the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and winter holidays approaching, Albertus Magnus College is urging its students, faculty, and staff to stay vigilant this Holiday Season and not give in to “COVID fatigue.” Although the College has seen a less than 1% positivity rate among more than 2,000 COVID-19 tests administered on campus since August, reminder messaging through multiple communications channels continues to urge its community members to stay the course in caring for each other with the beginning of its Thanksgiving break -- signaling the point where its traditional- aged undergraduates will vacate residence halls, finishing classes and taking final exams on-line and from home.

“The small class sizes and intimacy of the education experience at Albertus Magnus College are a priority, and our Dominican values call us, as members of the Albertus family, to care for each other’s well-being. Throughout the semester, we’ve translated the social distancing guidance into a “physically distant, socially connected” mantra. I’ve been so grateful for and proud of our students, faculty, and staff in adhering to the College’s and State’s guidelines, but now we absolutely must remain laser focused on adhering to those COVID protocols, out of a care for our family and friends during the upcoming holiday period. The Albertus community, as it has for now 95 years, has risen up to face challenges and through resolve and resilience, still delivered on the promise of the values-based, liberal arts education that continues to elevate education and life dreams,” said Albertus President, Dr. Marc M. Camille.

In prioritizing the health and well-being of its community members, Albertus closely followed CDC and state-mandated guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID.

“Signage is very visible to wash your hands, stay at least six-feet apart, and to not only wear a mask but how to wear it correctly. You see it in every building, on our website, and everyone gets reminders when they log-in to the Albertus network. We are also pleased to be pioneers of COVID Alert CT – the state’s tracking system,” said Vice President for Library and Information Technology Services, Dr. Steven Gstalder, who heads-up the COVID-19 Workgroup at Albertus.

“Every day, everyone performs a symptom self-screening on the #CampusClear app. On top of that, we have a rigorous ongoing testing program where roughly 25% of traditional undergraduates, including commuters and residential students are tested weekly, in addition to regular testing of our student athletes, coaches, and healthcare providers. Students have been taking classes in-person, on-line, or a combination of both. Between mask wearing, smaller class sizes, and sanitation precautions in place like hand washing stations and plexiglass, our students, staff, and faculty are helping to prevent the spread of COVID,” said Elena Tamayo Heitz, RN, BSN, at the Student Health Clinic and a member of the COVID-19 Workgroup.

Like all college students, those at Albertus yearn for social interaction and activities. Albertus senior communications major Megan Doyle ‘21 lives on campus, so her roommates are considered her family unit. “As a student-athlete, I participate in bi- weekly testing,” said Doyle, who plays NCAA Division III soccer at Albertus. “On a typical day, I get up in the morning, do my #CampusClear self-monitoring, and go to class wearing a mask. When it’s time to study, I can do that with my friends – but we keep our distance while hanging out together.”

In-person instruction for the College’s traditional aged undergraduates ends November 20. Students will leave campus for the Thanksgiving break and then complete the semester online. In conjunction with several colleges and universities in the region and across the country, Albertus’ spring 2021 semester will include a delayed student return to campus as a precaution in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Although students are not scheduled to return to the campus until Monday, January 25, 2021 in an effort to continue offering value to its students, Albertus is offering a free, three-week intersession beginning January 4. The spring semester will end as currently scheduled on May 10, 2021.

“I continue to be inspired by how well the students, the faculty, and the staff have worked together to support our community and pursue our common educational goals during this challenging time. The innovative January intersession course offering will enable our students to stay on track, or even get ahead, in their progress toward earning their degrees. In this 95th Anniversary year for Albertus, we are demonstrating the resolve and purpose that have been part of the College’s DNA since its inception,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Sean P. O’Connell.

While Albertus students, faculty, and staff are optimistic when looking forward to the spring, they realize some of the hardest work will lie ahead this winter. As a Catholic college in the Dominican tradition, a little prayer won’t hurt either. “Our Catholic identity and Dominican heritage inspire the College’s Four Pillars of Study, Prayer, Community, and Service. In the case of COVID, let’s focus on the Pillar of Community and how the spirit of care and commitment to each other’s safety is a commitment to our own safety. In our prayer, we need God and one another to get through this public health crisis in a holistic manner,” said Assistant to the President for Dominican Mission, Sr. Anne Kilbride, OP.

About Albertus Magnus College

About Albertus Magnus College: Albertus Magnus College, founded in 1925, is a Catholic College in the Dominican tradition. It is recognized by external rankings such as US News & World Report Best Colleges, Money Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education. The College has an enrollment of 1,500 students in its traditional undergraduate program, accelerated adult degree programs, and 12 graduate programs, including a new Master of Public Administration and the only Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling program in Connecticut. In the last year, the College received two significant Federal grants in support of student success and well-being: a $300,000 grant from the Department of Justice and a $1.9 million Title III grant from the Department of Education.