Putting it all together

It is early August, and our return to campus is coming together in a way that was not imaginable at the end of last semester. After a full summer of planning and implementation, we are rolling toward a broader return to campus. It is exciting, as the beginning of every academic year always is. But this excitement contains elements of the unknown that includes anxiety, apprehension, stress and fear. I am asking for assistance from every member of the Aggie community as we navigate this unknown ground together.

Many of us left campus 20 weeks ago, but this week, some of our staff returned to open offices that serve students. Although we are trying to keep the staffing levels low, we do need to be here to serve our students. Thus, deans’ offices will be open starting this week during regular business hours. The Aggie One-Stop also opened this week, which will allow students to take care of business associated with financial aid, academic advising, student records, student accounts and other services.

Students are also increasingly coming back to campus, and we are ready for them. Out-of-state students arrived last weekend to begin their 14-day quarantine. ASNMSU leadership has been here all summer, reimagining student engagement in campus life. The Aggie Health and Wellness Center partnered with the New Mexico Department of Health to provide door-to-door COVID-19 screening for students. Learn more here.

Health care workers on campus
A health care worker holds a COVID-19 test

The Pride Band is also back, marching on the Horseshoe and wearing innovative masks created by Katelyn Zuments, uniform band manager and a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering. These face coverings have quickly been adopted by universities and high schools around the U.S. 

To prepare for instruction, classrooms have been reconfigured to increase technological capabilities and decrease student density. As classroom assignments are finalized, faculty should test drive these spaces (see related article) and send any feedback to Suzanne Montes in the Space Planning Office. Other events will also support faculty in the classroom: 

  • ICT will demonstrate classroom simulcast equipment at two workshops scheduled for 9-10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11; register here.
  • The Provost’s Office and Faculty Senate will host a question-and-answer session at 3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 10, on the faculty experience in the classroom, instructional adaptations and delivery options. Questions can be submitted in advance

As our NMSU community reassembles on campus, NMSU’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Team is doing its part to prepare the university. However, everybody – faculty and staff – must assist by modeling responsible safety behavior for our returning students and the greater Las Cruces community with which we share our campus. I am asking everybody to demonstrate the simple and proven behaviors that will keep us all safer: wear a mask or face covering, maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from others, and wash your hands often. Every member of the NMSU community has a responsibility and a role in modeling these behaviors, and to help us get this right, to help NMSU succeed. 

If you have a concern, please work with your colleagues and your supervisors to address it and make it better. You can also send an email to COVID19@nmsu.edu.

Finally, to learn more, join us again during the next president’s town hall at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11, and submit your questions now. 

Your comments are always welcome at President.Floros@nmsu.edu.

Be Bold, Be Kind, Be Safe.

Go Aggies!

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