Castleton University announced Wednesday that it will offer students and families the option of a residential campus experience for the fall 2020 semester and deliver its academic courses online.
Interim President Jonathan Spiro said moving the University's courses from in-person to remote delivery required careful consideration of many factors.
“Vermonters are doing a great job of containing the virus. However, the public health situation in the rest of the country has dictated that we move nearly all of our courses online for the fall semester,” Spiro said. “Throughout the fall, we will look for opportunities to safely bring people together for meaningful campus experiences, while following state and federal safety guidelines.”
The plan offers the benefits of both online teaching and a residential campus experience. Under the plan, any student who chooses to live in the residence halls may do so by signing a pledge to adhere to robust social distancing protocols. Additionally, the University will follow the guidelines put in place by the State of Vermont and CDC recommendations.
Students and commuters to campus will have access to many of the offices, services, and resources the campus provides. Those who wish to remain off-campus can remotely access services such as the Academic Support Center, Wellness Center, and Career Services.
“Our plan gives students and faculty agency over their living situation and allows them to choose the option that is best for them, without jeopardizing their academic progress,” Spiro said.
In addition to preserving an on-campus experience for fall, the plan positions the University to adjust to changes in the severity of the pandemic and minimize the disruption to students if another stay-at-home order is issued by the state. The University recently amended its fall schedule to provide the safest experience possible. Classes will begin Aug. 18 and end on Nov. 24, with students staying home after Thanksgiving break.
“The safety of our students, faculty, and staff is always of the highest importance. Following CDC and Vermont Department of Health guidelines will help us create the safest environment possible for our campus visitors and their families. However, no institution can guarantee that their campus will be free of COVID-19.” Spiro said. “The safety of our community is a shared responsibility, and all of our community members must take steps to mitigate the risks presented by the pandemic.