Fall 2020 Back-to-Campus Plan
Landmark College is eager to welcome all students back to campus this fall with the resumption of full-time, residential programs. We’ve been working closely with the state of Vermont to monitor health and safety guidelines, mitigate risk, and maximize safety for our students, faculty, and staff.
LC’s small enrollment size, expansive campus, and location in Vermont have always been assets, perhaps now more than ever. With a student-faculty ratio of 6-1 and class sizes designed to be small and personalized, LC has always had a direct, student-centered operation that best manages many risks. Right now, this structure—along with a redesigned class “block” schedule (which will be explained in more detail soon)—allows us to build safety measures into learning, activities, and residential spaces.
The College’s Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) has mobilized a task force to examine and recommend measures to minimize risk and create as effective yet enjoyable a campus as possible, while still delivering the highest quality learning and campus life experiences. Things will look different when students return to campus, as distancing policies will require us to be further apart physically. The use of masks and visual cues inside buildings are important to our commitment to risk reduction. But know that we, as a true community, are in this together.
Also, it is important to mention that we have had residential students on campus this spring and at present this summer, for our short-term programs, so we have already gained experience in a revised living-learning environment that prioritizes safety and student success.
Detailed guidelines about student life and safety practices can be found here. Details about curriculum delivery and academic support can be found here. Some examples of how we are prioritizing health and safe practices, as recommended by public health policy:
- Student Arrivals and Quarantine: Depending upon the geographic region a student is arriving from, quarantine guidelines will apply, and might include up to a 14-day isolation period on campus or at home prior to the start of classes. Student arrivals will be staggered to maximize safety; two family members will be allowed to accompany a student to campus but will not have access to residence halls.
- Academic Calendar: The fall semester residential program will end at the Thanksgiving break. Then students will engage in various three-week online experiences to complete the semester. This is emerging as a standard practice for colleges this fall, and is meant to minimize long travel to and from campus. The Fall 2020 Academic Calendar can be found here.
- Health and Safety Pledge: All students, faculty, and staff will sign a pledge that affirms they will comply with all health and safety policies required by the state and the College.
- Dining Hall: The dining hall will be open and will follow physical distancing requirements for meal service and dine-in options. To help meet occupancy guidelines, students will have the option of taking meals “to-go” to eat outside or in other locations on campus.
- Athletics: Many of our athletic teams that involve no or low-contact, short-duration, or incidental contact will be able to commence in the fall with some limitations. This includes soccer, softball, baseball, volleyball, and cross-country. High-contact sports, or those that necessitate significant, longer durations of close contact may be limited to low-contact physical conditioning and skill-building drills.
- Activities and Programs: Student activities and programs will occur on campus and will follow all physical-distancing requirements.
- Classroom Instruction: Class sections will be held in large enough spaces to adhere to physical-distancing requirements. All courses will include face-to-face instruction (with students and faculty required to wear approved face coverings) but hybrid options will reduce the amount of continuous time students and faculty will spend together in the classroom.
- Residence Halls: Given the full design capacity of our residence halls, we anticipate reduced density in line with state requirements and best practices. Physical distancing will be required in all common areas, as will approved face coverings in all indoor spaces (with the exception of a student’s room).
- Face Coverings: Approved face coverings will be required to be worn by all faculty, staff, students, and visitors when in the presence of others and in indoor public spaces (with the exception of students’ rooms and when eating in the dining hall). Face coverings will not be required when individuals are more than six feet away from others while outdoors.
- Testing: All students will be required to undergo a COVID-19 testing protocol that the College is currently developing.
- Daily Symptom Check: All students, faculty, and staff will be required to complete a daily health screening prior to interacting with anyone on campus, including going to class, going to a dining hall, or participating in any campus activity.
Yes, as is the case at most colleges and universities this upcoming year, things will be different. But the core qualities that make Landmark College uniquely suited for student success are not only still present, but the very nature of our living-learning program lends itself to risk reduction and close monitoring in many realms.
Students, we want to hear from you about your plans for the fall semester as we continue to design the most safety-conscious return to campus. Please log in to your landmark.edu account to confirm your fall registration at this link. As always, please reach out to us with any questions, needs, or concerns you have by emailing PublicHealth@landmark.edu.
Remember: We are Sharks, fierce and determined, but not alone. We will navigate these difficult times as a dedicated, cohesive community. Our students will emerge stronger, better equipped, and fully prepared to meet their goals.
Peter A. Eden, Ph.D.