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Lebanon Valley College has released more details on its return to campus for the fall 2020 semester.
The college had previously announced that it was planning on being in-person this fall, but at the time a number of unknowns had remained.
Read More: LVC planning for in-person fall 2020
Now, some of the outstanding questions have been answered. The fall 2020 semester will start one week early, with classes set to begin Monday, August 24, and there will be no fall break this year, according to an email sent to students by LVC President Lewis E. Thayne on Friday.
Additionally, similar to many other colleges across the country, LVC will end in-person classes when students go on Thanksgiving break on Wednesday, November 25. Online instruction will be conducted after break ends on Monday, November 30, until Friday, December 4, and finals will be held remotely Monday, December 7 to Monday, December 11.
“Class times, locations, and schedules will be adjusted to allow for physical distancing,” said Thayne in the email, adding that the college will accommodate students who need to remain on campus after Thanksgiving for clinicals or athletics.
Thayne said in the email that all classes will offer an online experience so that students who may have underlying conditions or an illness can continue learning. “Faculty are developing online learning components so they can give all students the support and attention they will need from day one,” said Thayne.
LVC’s last day of classes on campus was Friday, March 13. A closure that was originally scheduled to go until April 9 was extended for the rest of the semester on March 21.
Read More: LVC goes online only for rest of semester
Since that time, the college has instituted numerous changes in its academic and counseling efforts to better accommodate the realities of remote learning. “Everyone on campus is all-hands-in when it comes to supporting students through this transition,” Beth Julian, Assistant Dean of Student Success and Retention and an Adjunct Instructor of English, told LebTown earlier this year.
Read More: How is LVC adapting to COVID-19 changes?
The “housing exemption” has also been extended to allow students who live more than 30 miles of campus to be commuters for the 2020-21 academic year. For those who are on-campus, the school plans to operate on a 50% occupancy basis, and will implement “strict hygiene and physical distancing practices.” Thayne said that a staggered move-in and modified orientation schedule are currently under development.
Thayne said that the college was still evaluating a healthcare partner or partners who can advise on testing, tracing, and mitigation strategies.
Other physical plant changes will include reconfiguration of classrooms to support physical distancing as well as additional hand sanitizer stations across campus.
Thayne said that the college intends to issue alerts for “any positive COVID-19 cases in the campus community.”
“Even in instances when the risk is low, we want to ensure all members of our community have the information they need to make decisions about their well-being,” said Thayne in the email.
This also happens to be Thayne’s last month as LVC president, having announced his retirement plans in May 2019. A physicist and current provost of St. Xavier University in Chicago, James M. MacLaren, PhD. was announced as the college’s 19th president in March just before the pandemic began.
Read More: Lebanon Valley College names physicist James MacLaren as its 19th president
“My wife, Dorry, and I are so grateful to have been a part of this community, which delivers one of the finest educational experiences in the nation,” said Thayne. “You can be confident that LVC is welcoming a leader who has proven experience in managing a crisis. Dr. MacLaren was instrumental in Tulane University’s recovery after Hurricane Katrina.”
Thayne said MacLaren is expected to arrive in Annville “very soon.”
Read all of LebTown’s COVID-19 coverage here.
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