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Survey Raw Responses: Single Greatest Challenge to Finalize Opening in Spring

Changes in public health guidelines as they react to science and the increase in COVID cases.
Clarity of student schedules.
Budget uncertainties, due to revenue streams being both smaller and more uncertain than usual.  Tuition, room, board… all will be smaller revenue sources than usual, plus we have made the decision to allow only directly-affiliated summer camps and conferences for 2021.
No letting our guard down. We need to continue to follow our safety protocols.
Accurate published class schedules.
Data dashboarding and veracity of input from each school site.
Supplies. Money.
Definitive planning/timelines/milestones…data.  We still don’t know how many students are returning and which residence halls and classrooms they will be using.
Future uncertainty is the greatest; for example, no one is willing or can give you straight answer, there is difficulty in planning any major event, or even minor facility projects since money has dried up. Budgets are being slashed as we speak, enrollment numbers have dropped, growth projections have been tossed out the window, budget forecast have little meaning, students dislike online classes.
Not Applicable.  Not Reopening.
Funding for testing.
Professors not willing to teach in person (with no valid medical reason).
None, we’ve adjusted.
Adequate communications with stakeholders is an ongoing challenge – being able to anticipate needs, answer questions, etc.
The unknown of what may be coming next, we have handled what we know but expectations can change quickly based on any new revelation.
Determining the appropriate level of testing for students. We started the fall testing students every two weeks. That frequency quickly increased to testing students every week once we had a surge of positive cases. Based on cursory research, it appears schools who tested students twice per week had a far lower positivity rate, mitigated the risk of a surge, and remained fully open.
Remote learning and non-connectedness of the student body to the institution.
What will staffing be. How to comfortably execute plans.
We are prepared; COVID fears is the challenge.
Concern about upperclassmen gathering in large social groups that fosters COVID community spread.
The number of students allowed to live on campus makes it difficult to plan.
The need for students, faculty and staff to be fully committed in following and obeying the university’s reopening plans, procedures and rules. The need for everyone to hold themselves and everyone else accountable.
Rising cases across the community are starting to have a noticeable effect on staff availability as more people are quarantined. We are concerned about increasing exposure as more students, faculty, and staff return to campus before a vaccine is widely available.
Communication.  Without the ability to have large gatherings and share information as a group, pieces of information get lost, dropped, or misinformed along the “telephone” channel.
Minimal telework options due to university regulations.
Faculty and staff taking ownership for their own safety.
Financial pressures on our operating budget due to COVID costs and reduced revenues have required budget reductions.
Faculty cooperation.
Keeping all staff, faculty, and returning students focused on the three essentials: wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands.  I worry that after 8 months of this (or 10 months by the time spring semester starts) people may let their guards down and create an unnecessary resurgence in the positivity rates that we were able to control in the fall.
Nothing in particular.
Public health is setting capacity limits and restrictions on us based on the community numbers. We cannot begin a return to campus until we can raise the limits.
Preparing for the unknown.
Managing outdoor dining support for food services.
Controlling student behavior.
Convincing students with money that being here will not kill them.
Uncertainty of the restrictions that will be in place.
Not enough time to get everything done coupled with employee burnout and fatigue.
Hiring open positions.
It’s been easier to plan for spring as much of the groundwork has been done (capacity setting, cleaning protocol, etc.)
If there are any unknowns.
A vaccine.
Social distancing in open areas.
Holding staffing levels to meet project commitments.
The lack of consistent direction from state and federal leadership.
Testing costs. We have our own on campus lab now which should reduce turn-around time and overall cost.
We are not reopening due to a multi-year construction project.
Lack of revenue.
Maintaining staffing levels for custodians. We are filling 17 vacant positions (out of 80) with 13 temps.
Unknown Executive Orders from the State putting arbitrary limits on operations.
Not knowing what the status of COVID will look like in January and throughout the spring semester.
Handling the additional workloads with limited staffing and limited budgets. Keeping staff from experiencing burnout or complacency in being vigilant with COVID safety measures.
Testing protocols.
Changing NYS mandates particularly when there is short notice.
Clueless leadership.
How to ensure everyone complies.
Faculty fear.
Customer expectation management, customer fear, and widespread misinformation.
Internal communication, our department is not always kept updated.
Unknown political changes that could occur at the end of January that could completely change our direction.
I hope my team stays healthy. With COVID numbers up all I can do is hope they are playing it safe at home and when they are out.
Control of student behavior outside the classroom.
What staff will be healthy to come to work.
Keeping staff focused and appropriately employed.
Facilities staffing vacancies due to normal attrition and hiring freeze as a result of budget cuts.
Full staff.
Keeping our staff healthy, safe, and feeling as if they’re valued and appreciated.
Filling vacancies with working, willing, and able staff that come to work during the crisis – many still face childcare issues.
COVID.  We are ready but the pandemic lumbers on.
The way the virus is, and therefore the guidance is always changing. We do realize there is not much that can be done about this.
COVID fatigue.
Handwipe and sanitizer infrastructure.
Students, faculty, and staff coming back healthy.
Testing and developing enforcement policy that helps limit campus outbreaks.
Full compliance with safety precautions across the entire campus.
High level of infection in local community, state and surrounding states.
From a campus standpoint we are ready, there could always be additional funds that would allow additional measures.
Not knowing…but only being able to plan.
Decision to provide face-to-face learning option.   Some faculty and graduate students prefer online only option.
Staffing shortages and budget. I know that is two, but they are both significant issues.
Preparing a plan for snow days.  How to balance online classes with those that meet in person.
Well educated people with good intentions unwilling to step up and guide our students.
Utilizing public participants in clinical trials.
Keeping students from socializing in larger groups without masks.
From a facility point of view we are prepared.  Now we just need someone to show up.
Uncertainty around the situation in several weeks.
Will students return to residence halls?  If too many do not, the budget gap will be significantly large and may cause layoffs.
Things went well this semester so we plan a repeat.  Biggest challenge has been food delivery to isolation rooms but cases were manageable.  If cases escalate it could be a challenge.
Uncertainty on the volume of cases we will need to handle on campus.
The unknown and uncertainty makes it hard to plan.
Having a seat at the decision making table.
Students, faculty and staff following established guidelines.
There is no single challenge. It is everything cumulatively.
Understanding the impact and timeline of any possible vaccine.  The doubling of athletic activities will create very busy schedules for the maintenance teams.
We have planned well for Spring Semester and all contingencies. Our biggest challenges are what lay ahead—with budgets, with enrollments, with a Vaccine roll out and delivery, and with the Transformed Campus we must build.
Changing requirements considering rising cases.
We will need additional staff members.
Solid, continuous messaging (local/state/federal.) And even more importantly, the focused listening of our entire community with resultant actions.
Resetting all the physical distancing learning spaces and public space furniture.  Also, assuring faculty that the campus buildings and HVAC systems are safe.
We are not ready to open any further than where we are (which is minimal.) F2F contact for practical learning needed in our health and medical schools.
Staffing, workforce reduced do to COVID contact or having COVID.
External factors out of our control.
Hope that students will be in person and having engagement opportunities.
The media spreading panic about the pandemic.
Personnel.  We were short staffed in several areas before COVID, and absenteeism from COVID tends to strain that further at times.
The statistics and the health implications behind them.
Keeping students engaged.
Maybe communications with the workforce that penetrates and resonates with each worker.  We need to ensure that each employee is aware of the reopening plans and how the campus community standards will be enforced.
Testing all students every 2 weeks.
Understaffed and employee quarantine pay.
Rising COVID cases could make the return to campus difficult or impossible.
Working around the remaining students on campus (though we are planning to consolidate to 2 dorms to reduce that impact).
With most endeavors, communication always seems to be the biggest challenge.  Any change in the pandemic that requires a change from what is planned could create modifications to the reopening.
Pre-arrival testing plans and the uncertainty of the regional climate and infection rates.
Financial concerns and staff morale (fatigue, anxiety).
Constant change of direction.  Rooting for a quickly deployable safe & effective vaccine.
Maintaining 25% occupancy in labs.
Staffing, personal accountability, business as usual with building usage, and supplies.
The faculty continue to be extremely resistant to resuming in-person classes.
Just will need to know guidelines and numbers.
Deciding whether to continue the course with Fall semester measures or modify based on present conditions.
Limited staff.
Getting administration to understand we have to adjust our plans based upon the state of the pandemic, as much as we want to return to normal we can’t do it yet.
Student compliance especially with traveling off campus during the semester.
HVAC controls and equipment to meet updated ASRAE guidelines.
see previous
Not enough people to do the administrative work.
Staff to do everything we would want to accomplish.
None. We opened in the Fall of 2020 and will continue the procedures in place.
Access and implementation of a vaccine, then funding which occurs from normal operations and prevents layoffs.
Faster testing and contact tracing.
Manpower due to furloughs.
Students and employees following social distancing measures.
Logistics of returning students to campus with uncertain government rules and regulations and changing testing processes.