Newman University has announced a plan for a return to in-person classes for the fall 2020 semester. The initiative, “Together We Soar — Return to Campus,” is a flexible plan detailing calendar changes, safety measures and directives for the Newman community.
Newman University President Kathleen S. Jagger, Ph.D., said she is looking forward to students returning to campus in the fall and is excited to begin meeting students, staff and faculty.
“The ever-changing nature of the pandemic has been and continues to be a challenge but many faculty, staff and administration members collaborated over the past few months to tackle the complex issue,” said Jagger. “The result is a clear, safe path forward and one that is flexible enough to adjust for future coronavirus realities.”
A message was sent to the student body in mid-June asking students to review their fall 2020 schedules as calendar updates have been completed.
Changes were made to class schedules that will ensure students have enough physical distance to safely attend sessions. Some classes were moved to larger rooms and days and times were changed in some cases to accommodate.
In addition, students will be asked to wear facial coverings, which the university is preparing to provide, and sanitization products will be available in classrooms for students to use as they enter and exit the classroom.
Jagger said, “Because of our small size, our facilities and the creative efforts of many people … after months of planning … and the ongoing support of everyone in the Newman community, we believe we can bring students back to campus in person while prioritizing the safety of our community.”
The semester will begin as scheduled with the first day of classes taking place Aug. 24, but other planned breaks will change. The previously scheduled Labor Day closing, Sept. 5-7, has been canceled as well as the 1-day fall break, which would have taken place Oct. 16.
Additionally, all classes with exception for certain nursing and allied health courses will move to distance learning Nov. 23. Students will break for the Thanksgiving holiday beginning Nov. 25 as scheduled but will not return to campus for in-person instruction.
The calendar changes were made in order to minimize exposure to community spread of illness to the greatest extent possible.
Students will be provided with resources to help them navigate their way through a safe return to campus, including communication regarding safe on-campus practices and expectations for all members of the community.
The university has created a special webpage where community members can find all the information, resources, frequently asked questions and future updates regarding the fall return.
“Over the past months, the pandemic situation has continued to change. Based on directives from the health department, CDC as well as local and state government officials, we may need to adjust our plans,” explained Jagger. “Know that (the) health and safety (of the Newman community) has been, and always will be, our highest priority as we strive to deliver consistently the unique, personal and exceptional education that is characteristic of Newman University. This fall will indeed be quite an adventure, and I know that together, we can soar.”