July 31, 2020-Important Information Regarding Fall 2020 Reopening Plans

Dear Emory & Henry students,

Please read this email in its entirety as it contains critically important updates to Emory & Henry College’s response to the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. This message is specific to undergraduate and graduate students on the Emory campus, not at the School of Health Sciences in Marion.

The COVID-19 Task Force has closely been monitoring public health trends over the past few weeks. For many of you, we know how much you wanted to be able to return to campus, and we wanted that for you. We wanted that for us, too–we miss seeing you. When we had to send students home in March, we were looking to August as a time when we might be able to return to the traditional college experience, with students back in residence halls and classrooms. However, based on the current spike of COVID-19 cases in our region, our state, and our nation, Emory & Henry is joining the long list of colleges that will be limiting the number of students on campus this fall.

To be able to operate residence halls as safely as possible, based on recommendations from local health care providers, we will only be placing students in rooms that have private bathrooms. Students can still have a roommate, but even so, this seriously limits the housing we have available. For that reason, we will only be able to bring a limited number of students to campus as the first seven-week session gets underway in August. If we are able to reopen safely through the first seven-week session, we hope to bring back more students for the second seven-week session.

Students Eligible to Live On Campus for the First 7-Week Session

We know this news will be difficult for returning students, but for the first seven-week session this fall, we will have a phased reopening in which first-year students will be the only cohort living and attending classes on campus. We have prioritized first-year students to be in person because we feel it is so important to help them get off on the right foot with their college education, so they can begin to connect with the Emory & Henry experience in the same way that sophomores, juniors, and seniors were able to do when each of you started.

A small number of students, mostly seniors, will be permitted to live on campus based on very specific academic needs as determined by the Provost’s office and the chairs of academic departments (for example, education majors who need to be in the area to do their student teaching, or science majors who can only complete their research project using campus laboratory equipment). Please trust our department chairs to determine which students must be on campus for experiential components of their learning that will be absolutely necessary to their ability to graduate on time. Students who fall into these categories will be notified by Wednesday, Aug. 5.

We will be reaching out over the next few days to all students who will be eligible to live on campus this fall. You will be asked to submit documentation confirming whether you still want to live on campus, as well as a waiver indicating that you understand the risks of attending college in person during the coronavirus pandemic. Any student who is invited to return to campus can still choose to opt out of the in-person experience and request to participate remotely from home, if you feel more comfortable doing so.

Phased Reopening for Second 7-Week Session

It will be critically important that students who will be on campus during August and September follow all safety guidelines. If we are able to successfully demonstrate our ability to contain the spread of infection during the first session, we are hoping to expand the number of students invited to live on campus during the second session, potentially to include students involved in specific activities; groups could include athletic teams and other academic and activity cohorts. Room and board would be prorated accordingly.

Plans for Commuter Students

Commuter students will be able to attend classes that are being held in person. Because many sophomores, juniors, and seniors will be participating in classes remotely this fall, many of the classes geared mainly toward these upper division students may shift to being held primarily remotely, so commuters likely won’t need to come to campus for classes very often. Commuter students who are first-years are likely to have more classes in person, and can plan to attend them in person. Commuters of any designation who may not feel comfortable coming to campus in person are eligible to ask to participate in fall semester classes entirely remotely.

Remote Classes, Technology, and Internet Access

Classes that are taught mostly to sophomores, juniors, and seniors will be offered in a primarily remote format this fall. For students who will be participating in the first seven-week session remotely, please know that many of our faculty were already planning to have their classes be fully remote anyway. In many cases, learning in the Zoom environment will be as effective as learning in large classrooms where students have to sit far apart and wear face coverings. We have been preparing for this scenario even as we hoped we wouldn’t have to use it. Our faculty have attended countless workshops this summer to redesign courses so we would be able to deliver in a remote setting the “Increase in Excellence” education that is the hallmark of Emory & Henry College.

Starting today, our Student Success team will be launching an outreach campaign to make sure students have the access to technology necessary to participate in classes from home. We will be contacting all students who have indicated on our summer survey that they do not have adequate access to broadband Internet to work on improving your access. If you haven’t already completed the questionnaire that provides us with information about your access to food, housing, and technology, please complete the COVID 19 Student Survey as soon as possible. (Anyone who has fully completed any survey sent earlier this summer by Dean of Student Success Jolie Lewis does not need to complete the survey again.)

Important Information about Student Conduct Policies for Students Living On Campus

There are a number of important policy updates moving into the fall. First, Emory & Henry College, like many other institutions, will be moving to a “dry” alcohol policy. There will be no alcoholic consumption allowed on campus in any form for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

Further, egregious disregard for the COVID-19 policies will result in immediate removal from campus. For example, we will view situations in which multiple students are socializing together in small spaces without wearing face coverings or maintaining social distance as a threat to the safety of our community, and as such, we will enact the policy in the student handbook that permits us to send students home immediately based on being a threat to the safety of others. This “one and done” policy will be necessary to protect our staff, our students, and the greater Emory & Henry community. Students found to be in major violation of COVID-19 policies will forfeit their room and board fees, but will be allowed to continue participating in classes remotely from home.

Impact on Financial Aid, Accounts, and Payments

As appropriate, accounts will be adjusted for students who will no longer be charged for room and board. This will impact the total cost of attendance for some students, which will mean that financial aid awards will be recalculated. The financial aid department will be working on making those changes beginning next week. The deadline for having your account settled will be moved from August 1 to August 11.

Textbook Purchase

If you would like to have textbooks delivered to you, you may visit bookstore.ehc.edu and click on course materials. By using this method, you can have textbooks shipped to you. 

First-Year Housing Assignments and Move-In Information

At this time, we will be inviting all first-year students back to campus for a fall residential experience. Josh von Castle, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Housing & Residence Life, will be emailing all first year students their living assignments later today. All housing related questions should be directed to him at jvoncastle@ehc.edu.

Please note that there will be no early arrivals for any student in any program. All new students will arrive on campus on August 14th, 2020. 

Office Hours with the Associate Provosts

Emory & Henry’s three Associate Provosts—Dr. Matt Frederick in Academics, Ryan Bowyer in Student Life, and Jolie Lewis in Student Success—will be hosting “drop-in” office hours in Zoom next week. Use this link to join us for Zoom office hours on any of the following days and times:

  • Monday, Aug. 3, 1-2 p.m.

  • Tuesday, Aug. 4, 10-11 a.m.

  • Thursday, Aug. 6, 1-2 p.m.

We understand that this information will be difficult for some. Please know that you can reach out to us at any time with any questions that you may have. 

Please continue to stay safe and healthy. We wish you the best during the fall 2020 academic semester. 

 

Sincerely,
Dr. John W. Wells, President
Dr. Michael J. Puglisi, Provost
Ryan Bowyer, Associate Provost and Dean of Students
Dr. Matt Frederick, Associate Provost
Jolie Lewis, Associate Provost and Dean of Student Success