Colby-Sawyer College announced plans Thursday for a return to in-person instruction on its 200-acre New London, N.H., campus that will both best ensure the safety of the campus community and also comply with all government ordinances surrounding COVID-19.
The college will implement a 12-week fall semester with in-person instruction to begin on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7, and conclude Tuesday, Nov. 24. Students will be required to leave campus prior to Thanksgiving, and will complete final exams remotely Dec. 2-5. A recess previously scheduled for Oct. 12-16 will no longer occur.
While on campus, all individuals will be required to wear a cloth face covering when maintaining a minimum social distance of 6-feet from others isn’t possible, and confirm daily that they have neither had a temperature nor experienced symptoms consistent with COVID-19 over the previous 24 hours. Plans are in the works to test all students for infection of COVID-19 upon arrival on campus, and students will also be instructed to limit off-campus travel to essential trips only.
“I am extremely grateful for the hard work of those who helped to create a plan for a safe return to campus that allows our students to experience the many opportunities that come with being together,” Colby-Sawyer President Susan D. Stuebner said. “We have a unique advantage as a small institution to be able to operate in a means that is both safe and effective, as well as an obligation to follow the precautions that make it possible for us to come together as a community.”
The college has plans to maximize the use of apartments, houses, and single and large double rooms in residence halls in order to provide spacious housing options for students. Resident assistants will also work with students to implement schedules for the use of shared kitchen spaces and bathrooms, and the college’s housekeeping staff will maintain a rigorous cleaning schedule throughout the semester. College officials are in the process of determining a staggered move-in schedule that will limit the amount of people on campus during the move-in process, and allow enough time for out-of-state students to self-isolate for two weeks prior to the start of classes. The college is also making arrangements to quarantine any student who is confirmed to be infected with COVID-19.
Inside the classroom, in instances where government ordinances do not allow an entire class to meet at once, students will be asked to alternate between in-person and remote attendance. This hybrid-instruction model will ensure that all students can receive face-to-face time with professors, while also allowing the college to accommodate students who may have immune suppressed systems. At the conclusion of an in-person class, faculty and students will be asked to wipe down their work areas with provided disinfectants in order to complement the work of housekeeping. Further details regarding in-person instruction are being worked out with faculty.
Meals will continue to be provided in both the dining hall and the Lethbridge Lodge, though seating will be reduced in an effort to promote social distancing. Food will be served directly to students rather than the former buffet-style setup, and to-go options will also be available. In addition, students will be asked to sign up for specific meal times in order to prevent overcrowding.
The college will implement additional precautions and safety measures as deemed necessary in order to best ensure the health and wellbeing of students, faculty and staff. In addition, college officials will continue to work closely with both state and local officials to make certain all ordinances surrounding COVID-19 are met.
“The safety of the greater Colby-Sawyer community remains the college’s top priority, and we strongly believe our plan for in-person instruction this fall accomplishes that charge,” Stuebner said. “We look forward to having our students back on campus and continuing our teaching and learning.”