By Camille Furst
The College has changed its initial plans and will now host all classes remotely for the fall 2020 semester, President Kathryn Foster said in a campus-wide email on Monday, Aug. 3.
The decision came in response to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy holding the state in Phase 2 of the reopening plan due to recent upticks in cases across the state.
“Together these factors and forces lead us like many others across higher education to conclude that we are best served by more severely reducing density and activity on campus this fall,” Foster said.
For the entirety of the summer, the College has planned for two scenarios: a remote-only plan and a “Fall Flex” plan that utilizes both in-person and online instruction. Foster originally announced that the College would tentatively move forward with the “Fall Flex” plan, but would rely on case numbers to remain low and Gov. Murphy to move the State of New Jersey into Phase 3 of the reopening plan. The College now joins hundreds of higher-education institutions in reversing course for the upcoming semester amid the active pandemic.
Housing will be greatly reduced to only accommodate those with extenuating circumstances, including those who have housing insecurity, international students, those who need access to on-campus facilities or equipment, student employees and others, according to the College’s website. Applications for on-campus housing must be submitted by Sunday, Aug. 9.
As for the incoming class of 2024 and Welcome Week, Foster announced that the College is revising plans and will host “virtual orientation experiences with in-person visits to campus to learn about services and meet with classmates, staff, and others in socially distanced settings.” Further information will be relayed to incoming students in the coming weeks.
Foster also announced that the College will be hosting virtual Town Hall meetings on Wednesday, Aug. 5 and Thursday, Aug. 6 for faculty, staff, students and families to answer any further questions regarding this change.
“In an environment in which no aspect of our lives and society has been untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic, I remain grateful for your intrepid response to disruption and the dauntless way you manage change,” Foster stated in her email. “I hope this revision to fall plans, although not what many wanted, nonetheless provides one element of certainty and focus in an uncertain and indefinable time.”