June 15, 2020

Returning to Campus in the Fall

Dear Goucher Community,

You have received several emails over the past two weeks with information about our return to campus this fall. This email is a summary of those decisions. We’ve also created a Return to Campus website that will be continuously updated with new information as we finalize our plans.

Some of you have asked why we are returning to campus. At its heart, Goucher is a vibrant community of learners. Our commitment to providing an inclusive liberal arts experience is rooted in our small, caring community of educators and students. As the state’s reopening plans have progressed, we have heard from the majority of our students, faculty, and staff who have expressed their desire to return to campus in the fall. We recognize that some are uncertain about what the fall semester will look like for our community. We can assure you that the safety of our students, faculty, and staff is paramount. Representing our entire community, the Fall Reopening Task Force has focused on the crucial elements necessary to return to campus safely. We are prioritizing both physical and mental health and using scientifically-based public health guidance. If you feel that returning to campus during the current pandemic would be detrimental to your mental or physical health, we want to make sure you know you will still be a part of our community if you take the semester to commute or study from home.

With all of this in mind, please review our plan’s key points below:

Academics

  • The first day of classes moves from Thursday, August 27, to Monday, August 24
  • Classes will meet on Labor Day, Monday, September 7
  • Fall break is canceled, and classes will be held on Thursday, October 15, and Friday, October 16
  • The last day of classes now becomes Wednesday, November 18
  • Final experiences/exams will be scheduled from Saturday, November 21, through Tuesday, November 24
  • Most classes will be taught in a HyFlex teaching modality, meaning students can attend in-person in physically-distanced classrooms or online. More specific information will be sent in the coming weeks.
  • We recognize that not every student will be able to return to campus, and to that end, we have been adapting our modalities to accommodate greater distance learning.
  • We have not made any changes to the Winter Intersession or Spring 2021 semester academic calendar yet. Expect further updates this summer.
  • If you haven’t yet confirmed your schedule, please visit myGoucher to review the modality of your courses, as detailed in the enrollment email sent out last week. (Again, you may change your mind over the summer but your responses will help us plan for the fall.)

Residential Experience

  • All students will be living in single rooms. A message was sent from the Office of Residential Life last week detailing the next steps for room draw.
  • All meals will be available as pre-packaged options, and a variety of different choices will be offered daily. The dining hall will accommodate physical distancing, or students can take their meals to other designated areas of campus. We will still be able to meet the needs of students with dietary restrictions. Please contact David Friendlich with Bon Appetit to discuss arrangements.
  • The move in schedule has been finalized. Please note that ONLY those groups identified below as eligible for early return will be permitted to move in early. Click here for a full schedule.
    • August 14-RA’s and First-Year Mentors move in.
    • August 16-Fall athletes (ONLY Soccer, Field Hockey, Volleyball, Cross Country) move in
    • August 16-18-Dancers move in
    • August 19-20-New student move in (first year and transfer)
    • August 21-23-Returning student move in
  • Students will be encouraged to socialize responsibly using mandatory physical distancing and while wearing protective face coverings.

Testing & Cleaning Regimens

  • There will be ongoing SARS-CoV-2 testing performed to monitor the health and safety of our community, and to identify and respond to any illness or outbreak.
  • The College has designed a comprehensive dual-modality approach to testing. It features a combination of population testing (wastewater) and individual testing through the use of a saliva-based RT-PCR (Reverse-Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) test.
  • Our facilities management services (FMS) staff are working diligently to clean, sanitize, and prepare all areas of campus, including the creation of new cleaning protocols that adhere to CDC guidelines.

Please know that the Task Force is reviewing every aspect of the return-to-campus plan from a health and well-being standpoint. This is a complex process and one that we do not take lightly. While the fall semester will be different from years past, we are all looking forward to being back on campus and working and learning together safely this fall. 

We will continue to send weekly updates as new information is made available.

Be well.