Keep Waynesburg Well Team strives for ‘normalcy’

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March 16 marks the one year anniversary of Waynesburg University sending students home for the remainder of the 2020 fall semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

After a full year of living in a pandemic-centered world, a sense of normalcy has begun to return to Waynesburg University.

According to a campus-wide email on Wednesday, March 10 from President Douglas G. Lee, the administration is “deliberately beginning to implement changes that move us toward some normalization of activities.”

During this past year, the Waynesburg community experienced a number of changes to comply with state and federal COVID-19 guidelines. Playing a leading role in those decisions has been the Keep Waynesburg Well team, which was formed this time last year.

“What started out as an administrative team led by Jim Tanda in his emergency response role quickly grew to multiple teams with specific focuses on different components of the plan,” Stacey Brodak, vice president for institutional advancement and university relations, said in a prepared statement.

At first, it was all about responding quickly, Brodak said, but then COVID-19 became a greater issue.

“Once we recognized this would be ongoing for a longer period of time than we initially thought, we steered our strategic response toward initiatives and services that would have long-term benefits well beyond the coronavirus pandemic, focusing on growth opportunities,” Brodak said.

Reflecting on the past year, Brodak remembers a saying Lee shared with the members of the KWW team when remote operations began: 

“There is an old saying, ‘Life is a grindstone, and whether it wears a person down or polishes them up depends on the stuff they are made of.’ Each of you is made of the ‘stuff’ that comes from God, and I am convinced that in the eyes of the good Lord, we shine.” 

After a year of adjusting to remote learning and COVID-19 guidelines, the KWW team is looking for the return of some pre-pandemic normalcy.

While the ultimate goal of the Keep Waynesburg Well team continues to be protecting the safety and well-being of students, faculty, staff and the surrounding Waynesburg community, we have always tried to balance safety and wellbeing with normalcy,” Brodak said. “We are, in a very measured way, lifting some degree of restrictions while still remaining in compliance with state and federal regulations.”

Some of that normalcy has already begun to return. As of Monday, March 15, clubs and organizations are now permitted to meet in person and a limited number of spectators are allowed to attend athletic events, Brodak said.

According to Lee’s campus-wide email, Waynesburg is “moving in the right direction,” regarding COVID-19.

As of March 5, Waynesburg University recorded on its website a total of 37 COVID-19 cases on campus since Jan. 11.

Waynesburg has seen success with its Keep Waynesburg Well Plan, but Brodak said it is still important to comply with the plan through wearing masks, social distancing, etc. 

“Compliance is vital to our ability to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus,” she said.

Moving forward, the KWW team will continue to assess and adjust the plan to address issues and developments related to COVID-19. 

All new and previous updates can be found on Waynesburg University’s website, under the COVID-19 Information tab.