Important Guidance for the Fall Semester
Dear Returning Students,
We are incredibly eager to welcome you back to campus! To that end, we are working diligently to put a plan in place that will keep our community safe during on-campus, in-person instruction this fall. Mark your calendars with these important Fall 2020 dates:
August 26–30: Tentative move-in for returning students; designated move-in times and instructions forthcoming*
August 31: First day of classes
No Fall Break: October 8 and 9 will be instructional.
November 20: Final day of in-person instruction
Thanksgiving week: No classes; students travel home
November 30: Online instruction begins
December 13–16: Final exams administered remotely
*You will receive a separate communication if you are part of a group with an earlier move-in date.
Note that once you go home for Thanksgiving, you will not return to campus for the rest of the semester. This schedule will allow you to have a meaningful on-campus experience while minimizing travel between home and campus. Rest assured, though, that students who need to remain in campus housing for the duration of the semester will be accommodated.
Of course, knowing when you’ll be returning to campus in just a couple of months answers one big question but raises many more. While we can’t yet answer all of the questions you have, we do have some important information to share with you about our fall planning, and we will be in touch frequently in the coming weeks as details fall into place. For now, we’d like to tell you what we know about academics, residence life, and our community commitment to health and safety.
Your Academic Experience
The quality of our academic programs and the commitment of our faculty are the foundations of your Lewis & Clark experience. Our Fall Academics and Learning Logistics (FALL) team, guided in its planning by the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Committee’s guidelines, is working hard to preserve that quality even as they make adjustments to keep you safe. Your faculty are participating in dozens of workshops this summer to develop innovative ways to adapt all areas of the liberal arts, from theater and bio labs to painting and first year seminars. Classes will have both robust in-person elements and meaningful virtual interactions. Don’t worry, though: those who cannot attend classes in-person—for example, students who are immunocompromised or otherwise need to self-isolate or international students who are unable to travel to Portland—you will still be able to fully engage with your academics.
Your Social Experience
There’s no way around it: COVID-19 is going to have an impact on your social experiences on campus. Campus events will be limited in size, according to the guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority. We will temporarily reduce the number of common areas in the residence halls open and the dining room will have limited seating.
You provided us great feedback about how we should reimagine the student experience at LC. Through surveys and focus groups, you told us that you wanted us to renovate Templeton to allow for more late-night programming, better student organization space, and better dining options. We heard you! We are starting design plans now to renovate Templeton and anticipate beginning that process with student involvement this fall. We are confident that updating this space will improve your campus social experience, even in COVID times. Stay tuned!
Working Together to Keep Our Community Safe and Healthy
The strength of our community is one of our biggest assets, especially now when taking care of one another is more important than ever.
Should you or one of your peers become ill, we’re prepared for that, too. Isolation and quarantine rooms will be available, and our amazing team of student life professionals is here to support you. As we prepare for fall, our focus is on setting you up for success with clear guidelines to follow and changes to campus:
- COVID Risk-Reduction Educational Campaign: Together, we can really reduce the spread of coronavirus and keep our campus safe. All students will be required to participate in an educational module to learn techniques and expectations on how to protect yourself and our community. We are all responsible for learning as much as we can and together we can slow the spread of the virus.
- Masks: Consistent with an executive order from Governor Kate Brown JD ’85, wearing masks will be required in all public areas and especially in those areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain. Pack the masks you have, but know that we’ll be giving them to everyone in the community, too.
- Social distancing: Classrooms will be set up so that you, your classmates, and your professors can maintain a minimum of six feet of social distance between you. The same will be true in the dining halls, student support buildings, and the student center. Plexiglass barriers are being installed in areas that require them for your protection. You’ll follow marked routes for entering, exiting, and moving through buildings.
- Hygiene: Washing and sanitizing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. By now, it’s certainly an ingrained habit that will be reinforced on campus.
- Cleaning: Classrooms, residence halls, and dining spaces will be regularly disinfected. The campus cleaning schedule is being updated with enhanced disinfecting protocols and increased frequency in all campus buildings. Our HVAC systems are being adjusted to bring in fresh air rather than recirculating air within buildings.
- COVID-19 Testing: Given the rapid changes regarding testing, we are still considering the best approach and timing for the testing of our students. We will finalize our plans later in the summer and communicate them to all. We will rely on everyone to fill out an arrival health survey during move-in and to self-monitor for symptoms daily. We will also expect all students to be in touch with our Health Service at the first sign of any symptoms. If it does become necessary for you to be tested, we will administer the test in our on-campus Health Service. We will have more information for you soon on exactly how we will be asking you to fill out the initial health survey when you arrive to campus as well as how to self-monitor your overall health while you are here, likely through some kind of checklist or app.
Preparing to return to campus is exciting, overwhelming, and stressful even under the best of circumstances. The uncertainties of this year intensify all of those emotions. We hope that this information—along with the assurance of our deep commitment to our community’s health and safety—helps to put your mind at ease.
Be well and safe,
Robin H. Holmes-Sullivan
Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students
Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
P.S: More detailed information will be available in mid-July, and we will share it with you as soon as it’s finalized.