New St. Thomas Aquinas College president juggles fall semester amid COVID-19 pandemic
A new college president is juggling how to handle the fall semester at a unique time in history.
Kenneth Daly, the new president of St. Thomas Aquinas College, has felt the heat preparing for the fall semester amid social unrest, a pandemic, and now a tropical storm and power outage. But Daly says his mixed background of teaching and emergency response makes him the right fit.
"In my prior role, I was in emergency preparedness for a large energy company so I dealt with Sandy, Irene, 9/11 and for many years prepared for worst-case scenarios," says Daly.
On Day 1, Daly started a social justice committee made up of staff and students as well as a coronavirus task force.
"We have a group of people who meet every day around the clock developing plans and mitigation to protect our students," he says.
On top of reducing dorm numbers. he's aiming for a zero COVID-19 case start this fall by requiring all students to test negative before returning.
"The college is reopening as normal this fall, but the only students who will be seating inside the classroom are the freshman," says Daly.
If all goes well, more students will be phased in and virtual classes phased out.