An email sent out by UHart President Gregory Woodward has confirmed that students will be able to return to campus starting this Fall 2020 semester. The email detailed revised plans for move in, classes, and winter break. Although the exact policies for campus life haven’t been finalized, the president has provided students with a timeline of the most noteworthy changes.
Starting on Saturday, August 15th, the university will allow residential students to engage in an “early drop off period”. This will be quite reminiscent of the university’s ongoing move-out process with students signing up for preset time slots to move items into their respective resident halls. They will not be allowed to spend the night after these items are moved in. The final “early drop period” will take place on Sunday, August 23rd.
Starting on the 24th of August, students will officially be allowed to begin living on campus. Arrivals will be staggered to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission. By the 26th, every student will have moved in, and class instruction will start. For the first week that students are on campus, classes will be held online. Throughout this week, the student body will undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing. This testing will be provided to students free of charge. On Monday, September 7th (Labor Day), students are expected to return to normal classroom instruction.
In the unfortunate event that a student tests positive for Coronavirus, the university has plans in place in the form of quarantine housing. uninhabited dorms and apartments that can be used in case of emergency. About 10% of university housing will be set aside for this purpose. The infected student will temporarily move into isolation and have their health closely monitored. During this time, they will be required to take their classes online and have food delivered to them. They will not be confined to these rooms but encouraged to isolate for the safety of the campus community. If their health worsens they will be advised to either seek treatment or go home. Once a quarantined student tests negative, they will be allowed to resume normal campus life.
Classrooms may look a bit different come Fall. In our interview, President Woodward detailed some of the changes that will be made to adhere to social distancing regulations. Every classroom will be equipped with a camera for online learning. Many of the university’s classrooms are too small to accommodate entire classes while maintaining social distancing. As a result, some classes will alternate with 50% of the students learning online, and 50% in the classroom itself on any given day.
Many of the changes to retail and social interactions that we have become used to throughout the past few months will be in place when we return to campus. That said, The president confirmed that at this time, nothing will be outright cancelled due to the new regulations. Sports will continue with regular testing of players and empty stands.
The largest confirmed change to the academic year comes in the weeks after Thanksgiving break. Students will leave campus on Tuesday, November 24th. Instead of returning for classes the following week, students will remain home until January 17th. According to the university, this will help to minimize the spread of COVID-19 during the flu season, and allow the university to be thoroughly cleaned for the spring semester.
Winter term will be held completely online for the 2020-2021 school year. Currently, the Spring 2021 semester is planned to proceed as normal.