On March 9, 2020, Starr King began a three-week closure of its campus to guard against the spread of the novel coronavirus. A national emergency was declared four days later and the San Francisco Bay Area counties imposed a shelter-in-place order the following week. What we hoped would be a relatively short interlude has turned into more than a year of profound challenges and burdens.
Ever so slowly, this pandemic is beginning to recede across the country. Case counts are declining as more persons become vaccinated. Here in California, the state government has targeted June 15 as the end of all mandated public health restrictions. The coronavirus will not suddenly disappear one day, but as it becomes less of a threat, we can begin to recover the many aspects of daily life that we have missed for so long.
With this horizon before us, Starr King School for the Ministry, in collaboration with our partners at Mills College, is planning a safe opening of our Vera Long Hall campus for the 2021-2022 academic year. Beginning on August 31, staff and faculty will conduct school business regularly from their offices. One week later the fall semester will start and several hybrid classes will meet partially in-person. Should conditions continue to improve, we hope to finally hold a large in-person regathering of our community during the annual Symposium on January 8.
Because COVID-19 will remain a lingering concern for some time, certain adaptations will be in place. In keeping with Mills College policy, all persons who wish to visit the campus must be fully vaccinated. While the general risk to vaccinated individuals of transmission or infection is extremely low, it is not nonexistent. Several persons will have concerns about vaccine efficacy due to certain risk factors such as immunodeficiency. As a result, other precautions will be adopted as well:
- The building will be open and classes held only during Tuesdays-Thursdays, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.
- COVID-19 antigen tests will be purchased and testing conducted on a regular basis.
- Hand sanitizer stations will be available for immediate disinfecting upon entry.
- Air filters have been purchased and will operate throughout the building to ensure the regular cleaning and recycling of air.
- Social distancing at a minimum of three feet will be maintained for classes, meetings, and other events that entail groups assembling for extended periods of time.
- In keeping with CDC guidelines, persons will not be required to wear masks or face shields, but anyone is welcome to do so according to their personal risk assessment.
We believe these practices establish a baseline to secure overall community health while respecting the choices individuals must make regarding their own safety. Classes and meetings will all be conducted in hybrid format so that persons may opt to participate either in person or at home.
More details about reopening protocols will be posted as they are finalized. Starr King will continue to monitor public health developments and adjust our operations accordingly. If you have any questions or concerns about the reopening plan, please contact the COVID-19 Monitoring Group.
Faculty: Please contact Dean of Faculty Gabriella Lettini (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Students: Please contact Dean of Students Chris Schelin (email@example.com)
Staff: Please contact Director of Operations Teresa Joye (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For General Community Concerns: Please contact Director of Spiritual Services Jacqueline Duhart (email@example.com).