Colleges and universities are beginning to announce their plans for next semester as many prepare for a return to in-person classes. Read on for some snippets of the reopening strategies announced by higher-ed institutions across the country.
The Chestnut Hill, Mass., college has announced it will resume in-person classes on Aug. 31. The school will initially have three dining halls open, with eight other eateries remaining closed indefinitely. Boston College Dining Services is implementing a number of strategies to combat the spread of coronavirus come fall, including scrapping self-service stations and operating from smaller menus.
A hybrid model will be on display at the Bloomington, Ind., university, with some courses being held online and others in person. Fall semester will begin on Aug. 24, with no fall break and classes being held entirely online after the Thanksgiving holiday. The majority of dorm rooms on the campus will be single occupancy, and dining halls will operate with reduced capacity.
"As we have said repeatedly, the safety and well-being of all IU students, faculty and staff is our highest priority," IU President Michael McRobbie said in a message to the campus community. "We have followed a methodical and deliberate approach in developing our plans for the new academic year and are relying on the best health and safety guidance available."
California State University
This university system, which encompasses 23 campuses and close to half a million students, has announced that it will largely conduct classes virtually this fall, with “limited exceptions” for certain learning experiences such as clinical training for nurses.
Wake Forest University
Though the Winston-Salem, N.C., university will not unveil its official plans until later this month, it has shared some preliminary details about how its fall semester will look. As far as dining goes, Wake Forest plans to offer more takeout and delivery, and will likely steer away from self-service styles. It may add some dining locations in an effort to encourage diner distancing. Most academic programs will not resume in-person classes after Thanksgiving, and the campus will likely scrap its fall break.
The Evanston, Ill, university has not officially announced its plans for fall; however, its preliminary dining protocols for fall quarter will expand on those the team followed after classes went virtual in late spring, with three different tiers of service based on the size of the dining hall and how easily diners can socially distance there.
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame’s fall semester will start two weeks before originally planned and end prior to Thanksgiving, and will not include a fall break. While the Notre Dame, Ind., school hasn’t yet unveiled specific plans around dining, its overall plans include COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, increased cleaning and requirements around social distancing and mask wearing.
“Bringing our students back is in effect assembling a small city of people from many parts of the nation and the world, who may bring with them pathogens to which they have been exposed,” Notre Dame’s president, Father John Jenkins, said in a letter to the university community. “We recognize the challenge, but we believe it is one we can meet.”
The West Lafayette, Ind., university has adjusted its academic calendar, beginning classes on Aug. 24, eradicating traditional fall breaks and moving to online classes after students return home for Thanksgiving. Classroom occupancies will be reduced by half and folks on campus will required to wear masks indoors.
Kansas State University
The Manhattan, Kan., university is also shifting its fall semester up by one week, beginning the on Aug. 17 and transitioning to remote learning after the Thanksgiving holiday. In addition, it’s suspending all-access dining plans for fall, and dining halls will feature reduced seating to encourage social distancing. Meals will be served on disposable servingware and face coverings will be required in the dining halls when students aren’t eating.
University of Connecticut
UConn will offer some combination of virtual and in-person coursework, with students beginning classes on Aug. 31 and moving to a totally remote experience after Thanksgiving break. While all of the dining halls on the Storrs, Conn., campus will be open, they will offer takeout only.
At the Elon, N.C., university, dining operations will see a number of changes, including decreased capacity and the removal of self-service areas. Before beginning their shifts, foodservice staff will have their temperature checked, sanitize their shoes and wash their hands. In addition, sanitization of handrails, beverage stations and counters will be conducted every 20 minutes. Recyclable servingware will be used in lieu of plates and metal utensils.
University of Colorado
At CU Boulder, students, staff and faculty will undergo mandatory safety training and classes will be scheduled during more hours of the days, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., to enable social distancing and encourage fewer people on campus at one time. Classes will take shape in a variety of forms: in-person, remote or a combo of the two. In-person classes will begin on Aug. 24 and end at the Thanksgiving holiday, with students finishing their coursework virtually after that point.
Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., also made changes to its fall calendar, beginning a week early on Aug. 17, scrapping fall break and ending classes on Nov. 20. Finals will take place remotely.
“The adjusted calendar, validated by the Registrar’s office as conforming with state and federal requirements, aligns with our ongoing decision-making process designed to offer as many of the academic and residential hallmarks of the Bucknell experience as are prudently possible,” Bucknell President John Bravman wrote in an update to the campus community.