Dear students and families,
I hope this email finds you well and that you have enjoyed the start of your summer break. I know there are a lot of questions regarding the upcoming fall semester, so I would like to provide an update on the college’s plans for your safe return to campus. This message outlines the academic calendar we will be following as well as what will be different when you return to campus to ensure the safety of our community.
The fall 2020 semester will now begin on Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 7 and classes will continue through the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Nov. 24. Following Thanksgiving break, final exams will be held virtually on Dec. 2 through Dec. 5. In order to accommodate a full semester during this time frame, there will not be any fall recess as previously scheduled the week of Oct. 12. A copy of the fall calendar may be found here. In addition, individual class times will be extended between 10 and 15 minutes to allow for faculty to cover their complete content during the weeks of the semester as outlined. Fall bills reflect the cost of the term as outlined above.
Besides the academic calendar, what will be different? Inside the classroom, in instances where ordinances on gatherings do not allow an entire class to meet at once, students will be asked to alternate between in-person and Zoom attendance. This hybrid model will ensure that all students can receive face-to-face time with their professors, while also allowing us to accommodate students who may have immune suppressed systems. We will be asking faculty and students to wipe down desks between classes and have already installed canisters in classrooms for this purpose.
Individuals on campus – whether in the classroom setting or elsewhere – will be asked to wear a cloth mask when unable to maintain a minimum distance of 6-feet from others. All individuals on campus, including faculty, staff, and students, will be asked each day if they have had a temperature in the past 24 hours, been exposed to anyone with COVID-19, or experienced any COVID-19 symptoms. We are currently exploring a number of apps to make this daily screening process efficient and effective for all.
Residential students should watch for communication from the department of residential education in the coming weeks as they work with students to identify their best possible housing assignments for the fall. The college plans to maximize the use of single and large double rooms, as well as its apartments and houses, in order to provide the most spacious housing options for students. Resident assistants will also work with students to implement schedules for the use of shared bathroom and kitchen spaces, and housekeeping will maintain a rigorous cleaning schedule throughout the semester.
College officials are in the process of determining a move-in schedule that will allow out-of-state students to return to campus two weeks prior to the start of classes in order to self-isolate. We also anticipate a staggered move-in process, similar to the move-out schedule, to spread out the number of students returning at one time. From what we know, we believe that the governor will also be requiring COVID-19 testing of all students, faculty and staff, which will occur upon arrival to campus. Additional information on move-in will be provided in the weeks ahead.
Parkhurst Dining will continue to provide food in both the dining hall and The Pub, though fewer tables will be available in order to promote social distancing. Meals will be served to students rather than the previous buffet setup, and to-go options will also be available. We will be asking students to sign up for specific meal times to avoid overcrowding in the dining hall.
Between now and your return to campus, we ask that you purchase the following items, if you don’t have them already, in order to best ensure and monitor your personal health: a thermometer, at least one washable cloth mask, a supply of Acetaminophen and/or Ibuprofen, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes or spray.
Colby-Sawyer College is a strong community, and it will take each one of us doing our part to maintain being on campus together this fall. We each will need to take personal responsibility for wearing our masks, adhering to institutional guidelines, and being diligent about hand-washing. We will need to limit our travel to and from campus to critical situations only (doctor’s appointments, family emergencies, etc.). I am confident in our community to do these things individually and collectively so that we may be together on campus and enjoy the benefits that come from face-to-face instruction and a residential experience.
Please continue to monitor your email and the college’s website in the coming weeks for additional updates. You are also invited to attend a Zoom session on Tuesday, June 16, at 4 p.m. in which I will address your questions and concerns.
Susan D. Stuebner, Ed.D.
President and Professor of Social Sciences and Education