Shippensburg University President Laurie Carter announced in an email Monday morning that students will return to campus for fall 2020, but on a modified schedule.
SU, like many colleges and universities across the nation, finished the spring 2020 semester online due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
“While there are still many details to work out, we have begun to frame out how we will learn, work and live on campus this fall, following the latest guidance,” Carter wrote. “The plan is being designed for maximum flexibility in order to adapt with changes in conditions or policies. I know you will have questions, and we will continue to post information that reflects the latest changes and developments for fall.”
In preliminary plans published on Ship Now, university officials outline what a return to campus will look like for undergraduate and graduate students, athletes, faculty and staff.
The modified semester will be a combination of in-person learning following social distancing guidelines and remote learning similar to spring 2020.
Classes will begin Aug. 17, one week prior to the pre-pandemic schedule listed on ship.edu, and conclude on campus at Thanksgiving break. Finals will remotely occur after Thanksgiving break, according to officials.
There will be no fall break in October; students will instead have to wait until Nov. 23 and 24.
When students return to campus, they will receive a “Welcome Packet,” which includes personal protective equipment (PPE) and coronavirus campus policies and expectations, according to officials.
The university is installing plexiglass and hand-sanitizing stations across campus.
Six working groups with various campus representatives aided in the planning discussions, according to Carter.
Academic and campus life
Students and faculty will hold a combination of in-person and online course instruction. Courses will be held in person with modified classroom settings to meet social distancing guidelines. Non-traditional classroom spaces including Memorial Auditorium, the Ceddia Union Building and H. Ric Luhr’s Performing Arts Center will be used for larger classes, officials said.
Labs, performance and studio-based classes will be prioritized for in-person learning, the website said.
Professors and instructors will offer both in-person and remote office hours.
Students will move back into the residence halls in the fall. Each suite of students will be viewed as a “family unit” in cases of infection, quarantine and isolation, the website said.
Most resources and services on campus will remain with some modifications including capacity limitations set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).
Again, officials said these activities will offer a combination of in-person and virtual events
SU officials list the requirements for students faculty and staff:
- Wear face coverings while on campus.
- Sign a pledge to abide by new campus standards to minimize possibility of exposure and to mitigate spread.
- Utilize all provided personal protective equipment (PPE) and frequently wash hands and use hand sanitizer to better protect campus life.
- Embrace social distancing education and abide by revised traffic patterns, social distancing markers, and other certain safeguards.
- Perform daily “self-checks” to look for common COVID-19 symptoms. Presence of symptoms will activate a layered response and action.
- Participate as needed in a contact tracing initiative that will respect privacy, but better inform the Commonwealth and local community in case of infection.
- Participate in staggered scheduling to allow for manageable, socially-distanced traffic in dining services.
- Residents will enjoy suite-style living, with each suite viewed as a “family unit” in cases of infection, quarantine and isolation.
All dining facilities will have healthy and safety modifications. Some traditional dining will remain; however, there will be more grab-n-go and takeout options, according to the website.
SU’s new dining partner, Aramark, will begin serving students in fall 2020.
Saturday afternoons cheering on the Raiders at Seth Grove Stadium may look a little different.
Officials have not announced any decision yet, but the university is following guidance based on NCAA and Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), as well as CDC and state guidelines.
SU is also working to expand broadcast coverage of games and matches.
“Much of what we must do in the coming months won’t be comfortable, because it will require change. But staying focused on our priorities gives us clear direction so that even in the midst of the turbulence of change, our path forward is clear,” Carter said.