Update to students: More information related to the academic calendar

May 30, 2020

Dear Green Knights,

We realize Thursday’s email updating you on the revised academic calendar for the fall semester has raised questions that connect to life on our beautiful residential campus. A number of the questions have to do with housing and meal plans, and we hope to answer several of those for you here.

What is being done to ensure it’s safe to move back on campus?

A group of colleagues is hard at work on guidelines that cover all aspects of campus life, from residence halls to Ruth’s Marketplace and everywhere in between. Their work is guided by higher education recommendations from the CDC, the American College Health Association, and public health authorities at the state, county and city level. This information will be widely shared once finalized, but please know we are taking a safety-first look at important questions around campus life.

Will all students be able to move to campus?

This is our hope and it’s the vision we are working towards. These determinations will be guided by the health authorities named above.

When can I move in?

We understand why people would ask this, as students and their families alike need to plan for move-in. We ask your patience as we work to finalize those plans as quickly as possible. We are looking at various models of staggered move-in that decrease the numbers of people interacting with one another. This plan will be developed with the safety of our students and their families in mind. As soon as we have finalized these arrangements, we will share that information so you can plan accordingly.

Will incoming first-year students still be able to move in early?

The reason first-year students move in early is to allow for a rich experience of being oriented to life on campus, which includes connecting with other students, and receiving important information to help them succeed. We absolutely intend to have first-year students move-in ahead of the start of classes, and the details for this will be included in the overall move-in plan.

What if I was supposed to arrive early?

We realize many students have a need to return to campus early, primarily for athletic practice or job training. This need will be spoken to in the move-in plan described above.

What can I expect related to on-campus dining?

Students will experience the same high-level of quality and service from Dining Services, delivered with the focus on health and safety. We anticipate food will be available in a hybrid of carry-out and dine-in seating. We expect seating capacity will need to be limited to maintain a safe physical distance, which will require extended hours to allow for more spacing of meal times. Dining Services staff will practice CDC guidelines with safety precautions such as wearing face coverings and gloves.

Will room and board plans be adjusted due to the remote setting of final exams?

Assuming we are able to be on campus from the start of classes through Tuesday of Thanksgiving Week, there is no change to room and board pricing. Student residency for a semester actually varies from semester-to-semester and year-to-year, depending on the dates of Labor Day, Easter and other calendar-specific items that impact the semester schedule. Our typical SNC semesters have been 14-15 weeks of classes, followed by one week of final exams. The fall 2020 academic calendar reflects a typical 14 weeks in residence. The single day of remote teaching on the Wednesday of Thanksgiving Week (November 25) is offset by the cancellation of Long Weekend when classes will be in session. Remote implementation of finals has been determined not to warrant proration. Student finals week schedules vary widely in a standard semester, with students vacating residences once they have completed exams. For a large number of students, finals week is not a full week on campus during a typical semester.

What if I am in housing where students are permitted to remain in residence between semesters?

This question relates to upperclass housing in spaces such as apartments and campus houses. At this time, we expect students will be permitted to return to those spaces between semesters. As with all our plans, we will remain in dialogue with health authorities and adjust if needed. But going into the year, our assumption is that this will be permitted.

What if I/my student needs to stay on campus during finals week?

There may be cases when a student has a legitimate need to stay on campus through finals week. These few exceptions will be handled, as was the case for the small number of students who needed to remain on campus through the conclusion of spring semester 2020.

We are eager to welcome each of our students back to a vibrant campus experience. Please know we are working in earnest to finalize our plans and get each of you the information you need to prepare for fall semester. We hope to have many of these decisions finalized in the coming weeks, and aim to share more with you by the end of June.

Wishing you a safe and happy summer!

Julie Massey
Interim Vice President for Mission & Student Affairs