Plans to Return to Campus are Progressing
Friday, May 15, 2020
The Husky Strong Task Force has been working diligently to safely reopen the University. Our charge from President Robert Sloan is to think creatively and strategically to develop a plan that will accommodate students in classrooms on campus this fall while making every effort to physically distance and prioritize safety. The task force is working through various scenarios to address academic delivery, distancing policies and procedures, various student support services, athletic and other HBU events, and the optimization of technology. We are committed to minimizing disruptions to the Fall 2020 calendar while following guidance from city, county, and state officials.
The guiding principles for the task force are:
Safety First – protecting the health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and the HBU community in general is our first priority
Flexibility Second – as the federal and state guidance to COVID-19 changes and evolves, so will we respond accordingly and creatively to comply
Transparency Third – we will be forthcoming, responsive and specific with the HBU community and communicate regularly about how the campus will reopen as determinations are made
Restoration Fourth – we want to return to campus and reestablish the residential culture we value and appreciate at HBU as soon as possible
Here are a few updates on our progress thus far:
Bradshaw Fitness Center
Based on guidance and recommendations from the city and state, the Bradshaw Fitness Center (BFC) will reopen on Monday, May 18, with appropriate distancing. HBU personnel have been working closely with local health officials to comply with state guidelines on how to safely reopen the BFC by reducing density, masking, and cleaning aggressively. Hours will be limited, and not all amenities will be available. Email FitnessCenter@HBU.edu with questions.
Academic Planning for the Fall
The Academic Task Force Subcommittee continues researching and discussing the various possibilities of how classes on campus can be delivered in the Fall 2020 semester. Although the committee has not settled on a specific modality, it is probable that a hybrid of both in-person and remote learning opportunities will be utilized for each class. A safe, positive and accessible learning experience is the primary concern of the University. As such, a new set of protocols and procedures will be put in to place to ensure proper distancing from student to student, instructor to student, and staff. More information will be offered as it becomes available.
Opening the Residence Halls
Residence Life staff members have been working through plans to reopen the residence halls this fall under regular occupancy parameters with additional safety precautions in place. They are also scenario-planning to accommodate any potential quarantine needs as well. All new, incoming freshmen as well as most returning students will have roommates in the fall.
Making the Campus Safer
As with other strategies, the University’s plans for offices and administrative spaces follows the same three core practices. First, where possible, we plan on limiting the density of people utilizing spaces. This could include alternating work schedules, remote office hours, or furniture rearrangement. In some areas, we will add clear barriers for face-to-face interactions. Where distancing is difficult, we will strongly recommend all individuals wear a mask during interactions; mandatory masking in these situations is being considered as well. Finally, Aramark’s (food services) existing high-touchpoint cleaning process is being improved to ensure areas are as clean as possible for all students, faculty, staff and visitors.
Upcoming Events on Campus
We are all looking forward to seeing the HBU family again on campus sometime soon! However, we are taking a cautious approach to hosting events on campus this summer. All summer courses have been shifted to online and remote delivery, which has been working well thus far. Summer camps such as Camp HBU and Embark have been cancelled and/or postponed until next year. Planned events utilizing HBU facilities have been cancelled or delayed as well. The task force is working on a plan for commencement in August 2020 for May 2020 and Summer 2020 graduates.
We will host two Get Oriented (GO) drive-through events on campus June 10 and 17 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for new, incoming students. These Husky Drive-In events will allow incoming students and their families to remain in their vehicles as they visit campus to pick up their HBU resources and gear from department representatives across HBU. More information about Husky Drive-In is available at HBU.edu/GO.
Supporting Our Students
We have been working to provide support to students. The University has been able to:
- Refund room and board charges since the spring campus closure
- Distribute CARES Act funds to more than 1,000 students with high need
- Continue to pay student workers throughout the spring semester
- Give students a Pass/Fail option for coursework during the spring term
- The Cashier’s Office allowed students with balances to reregister for summer/fall
- Faculty members have offered one-on-one support remotely as well as many other resources to help students
- Offered summer school discounts and waived online fees for early registrants
- Expanded payment plan options to create more flexibility
- Spiritual Life has offered Bible studies, discipleship and prayer calls remotely
- The Academic Success Center has continued to offer their support services
- Adopted a test-optional policy for new, incoming students
We are stronger together! As Dr. Sloan said recently, “The coronavirus does not change our mission statement or who we are as an institution.” Accordingly, we are working aggressively to safely bring everyone back to campus as soon as possible.