Goshen College has mapped out plans for safely holding on-campus classes and opening residence halls this fall for students. This includes moving up and streamlining the academic calendar, flexible residential options and flexible classroom formats.
“I know from my years in public health that our small size, our generously spaced campus and our culture of personal responsiveness are significant advantages as we return to campus,” said President Rebecca Stoltzfus, who has a doctoral degree in human nutrition. “Protecting each other’s health will require new and specific policies and procedures, as well as changes in habits and behaviors — nothing short of a truly community-wide effort, including altruism on the part of every student and employee. This is required because in this pandemic the health of each individual depends on the health of the community, and vice versa.”
Streamlined fall calendar
Goshen College will start the fall semester two weeks earlier than originally planned. The fall mid-term break will be replaced with several mid-semester study days and the fall semester will end by Thanksgiving. This change is motivated by the need to reduce exposures from students’ travel away from campus and back for fall and Thanksgiving breaks.
Move-in days will be Aug. 14 for new students and Aug. 16 for returning students. The first day of classes will be Aug. 18.
For athletics, the college has been in conversation with the NAIA and the Crossroads League, the conference in which Goshen College competes. These organizations will make a decision about fall intercollegiate competitions by July 1.
Flexible residential options
Students who live on campus will be offered the choice to live in a shared room or in a single room at the same price. This will be offered both semesters this year. Rooms will be set aside for isolation if students become ill, and for students who must be quarantined due to possible exposures to COVID-19.
The college is working closely with its dining partner, AVI Fresh, to make changes to the dining hall and meal services that will be safe and flexible for all.
Flexible classroom formats
As students and faculty return to in-person classroom instruction, accommodations will be made for students and professors who will not be able to be physically present due to individual health concerns. Class sizes will continue to be small and classrooms will be adjusted to allow for physical distancing.
A new pandemic management team, led by President Stoltzfus, will include local public health and medical professionals, faculty and students. Administrators will also hold a virtual town hall meeting for all students and parents on June 4 to share further information and provide an opportunity to directly answer their questions. The college also released this guiding framework for its reopening.
“This plan will enable us to continue to offer the rich educational experience we are known for, while also recognizing that we will need to be flexible, constantly monitoring and managing the risks involved,” Stoltzfus said. “Our campus life this year will be guided by a public health approach based on sound science, state and local guidance and Goshen College values.”
Learn more about all of Goshen College’s response to COVID-19 at goshen.edu/coronavirus.