MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

August 29, 2020

Fall semester begins with an abundance of precautionary measures

post testing.jpgWe’ve begun the fall semester with a return to in-person classes and student services. This is a milestone for which we’ve prepared and have anticipated for weeks and months. Many employees have gone above and beyond to ensure that we are providing the safest environment possible for all students studying on campus, as well as faculty and staff. I am truly grateful for their efforts and could not be more Comet Proud of all they have done.

Use of masks is required on campus and all faculty, staff, and students are being provided with two complimentary cloth face coverings. Face shields are available and plexiglass barriers have been installed. Hand sanitizer is everywhere. Signage reminding people of the guidelines is abundant. Cleaning efforts have been stepped up. Faculty and staff are prepared and eager to serve students. We’re ready.

van horn check-in.jpgStudents moved into the residence halls over the weekend and joined a number of student athletes who were already settled in. Our Student Life department provided a number of student activities that would keep them busy and engaged.

It is always heart-warming to greet new and returning students as a new semester begins. Things look different this time. Isolation is a part of the new normal in which we find ourselves amid the coronavirus pandemic. The loneliness and sadness associated with isolation can hit our students hard. This is especially true for those from a distance who are now part of a way of life that is completely different from that which they’re accustomed. I hope you will keep this in mind as you encounter students out and about in the community. This is a time when it is exceptionally important to be warm and welcoming. Your kindness will make a difference and be a bright spot for these young people who are now members of our community. The Comet Athletic Club’s annual feed for student athletes is an example of the kind gestures members of our community extend to our students.

A free COVID-19 testing event was held Monday, Aug. 24 for students studying on campus as well as faculty and staff who weren’t able to participate in testing events on Aug. 12 and 19. I was delighted to see the number of students who were up bright and early and ready to be tested first thing Monday morning. Testing is one of the ways in which we can help to slow or stop the spread of the coronavirus.

testers.jpgWe have strongly encouraged our students studying on campus, as well as faculty and staff, to be tested for COVID-19. In a testing event held at Mayville State on Aug. 12, 226 people were tested and two positive cases were identified. On Aug. 19, Mayville State faculty were given an opportunity to participate in community-wide testing held in the parking lot at May-Port CG High School. There is no way to distinguish Mayville State employees from community members at large who were tested on that day, but 164 people participated. Three positive cases were identified, but none of the Mayville State folks who tested received positive results. In a testing event for students studying on campus and faculty and staff who weren’t able to test on Aug. 12 or 19, 165 tests were administered. As of this writing, results are not known.

It was my honor to address new students in a convocation held Monday afternoon in the Lewy Lee Fieldhouse. This is one of the largest freshman classes we’ve seen at Mayville State in a long time. This is a great achievement, especially given the uncertainty in our world right now. I am proud of our coaches, recruitment staff, and all who have helped us to realize this measure of success.

van horn address.jpgAt every opportunity, we are stressing the importance of following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for health and safety with regard to the coronavirus pandemic. It is imperative that we do everything we can to keep our campus community healthy throughout the semester. Our ultimate goal is to continue in-person instruction and services, and in order to achieve this, we all need to do our part to keep ourselves and our friends safe.

Caring about one another is something that is second nature at “The School of Personal Service.” During these trying times, I am putting my trust in our campus community to do the right thing. We need to be mindful of what is best for one another and for our community at large.

Photo captions:

Top: New Mayville State students took a moment to visit with President Van Horn as they left the COVID-19 testing site Monday morning.

Second: The North Dakota National Guard assisted with free testing events held at Mayville State. Here President Van Horn checks in for his test.

Third: Traill County District Health and Mayville State provided nursing professionals who performed the test swabbing at free testing events at Mayville State.

Bottom: President Brian Van Horn addresses new students at a convocation held on the first day of the Fall Semester of 2020, Monday, Aug. 24.