Important Updates on the Safe Reopening of Campus
Dear new and returning students,
As we approach the Fourth of July, I want to express my sincere wishes to you and your family for a Happy and Safe Fourth of July holiday. I know that many of you have been eagerly awaiting an update on the College’s plans for the fall semester. Since my last message to returning students, the faculty, administration, and staff have been busy planning a positive and safe experience for all our students — one that includes robust academic and social interactions and meaningful campus experiences. I feel very good about the work that we have done in that regard and, therefore, today I am writing with some specific highlights of the Elms College Campus Reopening Plan.
Planning to reopen the campus amid an evolving pandemic is an incredibly complex and dynamic task, and I want to thank all the staff and faculty members who have been and continue to be deeply involved in the planning process. For this plan to be successful, we all must take responsibility for each other’s health and wellbeing. We must also all be flexible and ready to adapt to unfolding events.
The Elms College family is a caring and close-knit community. Our size and our traditional sense of shared responsibility constitute an asset as we advance our mission of fostering a vibrant and supportive learning environment, while emphasizing the safety of each and every member of the Elms community. I know that, even though the situation is still evolving and there are many unknowns, we can and will join together to take on this challenge and make the fall semester successful.
Detailed information about the fall semester can be found on a new web page created specifically to answer your questions and keep you updated. The following is a summary of that information.
- Campus Health and Safety
- Elms College will follow at a minimum the latest health and safety guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Higher Education Reopening Task Force, and all other relevant regulatory or advisory entities.
- Students will be required to sign the Elms Safe Agreement delineating individual responsibilities for being part of our learning community during this pandemic.
- Masks will be required to be worn while on the Elms campus. The College will provide 1 washable, Elms-branded mask for faculty, staff, and students to wear when in close proximity to others.
- Physical distancing policies will limit the number of individuals allowed in classrooms, lab spaces, public restrooms, the mail room, residence halls, the dining hall, and other common areas at any one time.
- Students, employees, and visitors to the college will be identified at all times with name badges and appropriate lanyards.
- Hand sanitizer will be available on each floor of every building.
- The College’s Health Center will coordinate symptom monitoring and reporting for the campus. A COVID-19 checklist will need to be submitted by ALL students before the start of the semester. Resident students will be subject to a health screening prior to moving into the residence halls.
- Both the Health Center and the Counseling Center will continue to provide consultations, referrals and resources to all students.
- The campus is putting in place a COVID-19 testing program that will include pre-entry testing and surveillance testing for students in the residence halls and selected other groups.
- The college has designated facilities to serve as quarantine and isolation spaces for residential students who may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus and are not able to go home.
- Campus cleaning and disinfecting protocols will follow Massachusetts Department of Public Health and CDC guidelines.
- Teaching and Learning
- The fall semester will start on September 2 and end on December 11, 2020. All classes will move to online instruction on November 30 and continue that way through finals week.
- Most classes will be taught in a hybrid, flexible (ElmsFlex) model that gives students thepossibility of attending sessions in the classroom, participating online, or doing both. To facilitate appropriate distancing, all students will be offered specific opportunities for in-person classroom experiences. All students will also have the option to attend courses that do not require in-person delivery remotely. Students can move between the options as needed based on their personal circumstances. The ElmsFlex course design model makes it possible for international and non-local students to advance their education.
- Plans are under development to provide for external learning experiences. If practicable, simulated or virtual learning components will be incorporated.
- Live, virtual, or hybrid internships will be allowed on a case-by-case basis.
- Residential and Student Life
- Elms College is working to accommodate safely as many students as possible in the context of a less dense residential campus. Students have submitted their housing request information and Residential Life will follow up with them for any additional information.
- Residential students will receive their room assignments no later than July 15.. A portion of our housing capacity will be reserved for any quarantining needs.
- The residential move-in process will be spaced out over a multi-day period in mid- to late-August. Certain groups will move-in earlier for activities related to athletics, the Dorothy Day Program, or other specific programs.
- A limited (2-3) number of helpers per student will be allowed and students will be scheduled for a specific time slot to move in, in order to facilitate social distancing.
- Residential cleaning will follow CDC guidelines.
- Face masks will be required in all common areas; non-resident guests will not be allowed in students’ rooms.
- Elms College will follow guidelines provided by the NCAA to phase student-athletes’ return to on-campus athletic training and activities. The college is coordinating with other NECC institutions to determine the minimum safety standards and a possible revised schedule for potential fall competitive activities.
- The fitness center will follow the opening guidelines recommended by the State of Massachusetts.
Elms College’s Reopening plan is being developed in the wider context of the Massachusetts and national environment. We will continue to update the plan as the situation warrants. I will continue to provide critical updates as you plan your return to classes. The latest version of the plan can be found here. We also have an extensive FAQ section you can refer to.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this critically important and challenging time. Stay well and I look forward to seeing you in August.
Harry E. Dumay
President, Elms College