Catawba College plans for students to return to campus in August

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 4, 2020

SALISBURY – Catawba College announced plans Tuesday to bring students back to campus for the fall semester in mid-August, with the end of in-person classes scheduled before Thanksgiving, Provost Constance Rogers Lowery said. There will be no fall break, in order to allow for the early end of the fall semester, and final exams will be conducted remotely.

“Medical and public health professionals believe that we could experience a second wave of COVID-19 in late fall or early winter, coinciding with the typical flu season,” Lowery said. “Due to that possibility, Catawba will shift the 2020 academic calendar to end in-person classes before Thanksgiving.”

In a “Return to Catawba” Plan, fall Welcome Weekend activities will be held on Aug. 14 and Aug. 17, with new students arriving on Aug. 14. All other returning residential students will move in on Aug. 16. Fall classes will start Aug. 18. Returning student athletes and students in leadership groups will be told of their return dates by coaches and campus leaders, who will communicate directly with these students. The Opening Convocation will be held in Shuford Stadium on Aug. 17, weather permitting.

The last day of classes on campus will be Nov. 24. Final exams will be held remotely during the week of Nov. 30-Dec. 4. Other ceremonies, performances, and traditions may be rescheduled, with details to be provided as plans are developed.

Dean of Students Jared Tice said the college knows prospective students are still deciding where to attend college this fall and Catawba is prepared for new students.

Safety plans include:

Implementation of daily screening procedures for presence of symptoms indicative of COVID- 19.
Adjustment of class sizes, based on recommendations for safe occupancy and physical distancing. Additionally, the College is exploring options for classes in larger venues, including outdoor spaces.

Implementation of enhanced housekeeping procedures. Restrooms and work spaces will be cleaned according to CDC guidelines, and high-touch objects (such as doorknobs and handrails) will be cleaned with greater frequency.

Additional stations for hand sanitizing will be available in all buildings.

Doors, staircases, and hallways may be marked with directional signage to help with flow of foot traffic and allow for physical distancing.

A requirement that all campus members wear masks in hallways, common areas, classrooms, and other indicated areas.

The Catawba Proctor Health Center is staffed by two registered nurses and offers on-campus physician hours for our students.

For returning students, the College is offering an enhanced selection of online courses. Students may work with their advisors to explore options that are available to them to make satisfactory progress in their degree programs.

For first-time students who need the option, the College will offer Catawba At Home, with the fall semester courses completely online. Students will take a special section of first year seminar, as well as several general education courses online. Students will take these courses as a cohort, while participating in enrichment activities that help them connect to our campus community and college experience.

Lowery said that over the coming weeks and months, the College will continue to communicate with students and their families to keep them up to date with the latest information and planning.