Important Message From The President Regarding The Re-Opening Of The College

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Logo for Re-opening of the College

COVID-19

Re-Opening Guidance

 

Members of the Barton College Community,

Barton College looks forward with great anticipation to the full return of our faculty, staff, and students to campus. As previously acknowledged, Barton will re-open the campus in August for fall 2020 classes and the return of residential students.

Two guiding principles have continually framed our response to COVID-19 decision making. Current and future decisions will be made through this lens, in concert with federal and state law and guidance healthcare experts.

  1. Barton is committed to providing a healthy and safe environment for our campus community to live, learn, and work.
  2. Barton is resolved to provide excellent education as we effectively meet our mission.

A Presidential Re-Opening Task Force developed the College’s foundational perspectives for a safe return to campus operations. Barton will use a combination of administrative and scheduling adjustments, social distancing, healthcare and self-monitoring practices, and cleaning/facility enhancements to guide and promote the well-being of our campus community and to maintain our core educational, co-curricular, and campus activities.

A common set of expectations, to be embraced and practiced consistently by our students, faculty, and staff, will guide us as we move into the fall semester. Critical to the success of the plan is each person’s full commitment to their own wellbeing and a selfless, intentional effort to maintain the safety and health of others. Caring for and exercising control and discipline to support community health is an essential element of this effort. Barton College Bulldog spirit stands strong as a testament to our ability to make this plan work to the advantage of each community member.

The endorsed Re-Opening Plan will be documented for the use of the campus community, as well as for the use of students and parents as an “evergreen document,” to be updated regularly in keeping with best practices and evolving standards of care. The document is slated for publication on July 1. It will be revised as needed thereafter. Critical components and highlights of the Re-Opening Plan are provided below.

Campus Re-Opening Schedule and Administration

As an essential business, Barton has maintained operations accordingly, with many College employees working on campus and at home through the shelter-at-home order issued by the Governor. As we prepare for the opening of campus for our students, it is expected that all College employees will begin returning to campus during July. Barton’s fall 2020 semester will begin August 17 (one week earlier than originally scheduled), and on-campus classes will be completed by Thanksgiving. All final exams will be administered remotely after Thanksgiving on a predetermined schedule.

JULY – Staff and faculty will begin a phased process of returning to campus between July 6 and July 20. (Vice Presidents and Deans will work with employees to confirm specific arrival plans.)

AUGUST – A tiered-phase return of students to campus, beginning with Orientation Leaders, Residence Hall Assistants, and other early arriving student teams and groups will take place throughout early August. (Details will be forthcoming regarding move-in dates and process to ensure effective social distancing.) A tiered arrival of first-year students will take place to accommodate the final Orientation and new student welcome period. Returning students’ arrival will also be tiered to support social distancing best practices. (Details will be forthcoming regarding the phased return for students.)

Barton’s 2020 fall semester classes will begin on Monday, August 17, 2020 (one week early).

SEPTEMBER – Classes will be held on Labor Day.

OCTOBER – Fall Break has been removed from the 2020 Fall Semester to support the accelerated class meeting schedule. Day of Service has also been removed from the calendar.

NOVEMBER – Classes will meet on campus through Tuesday, November 24, 2020. Thanksgiving Break begins at 10 p.m. on November 24. All residence halls will close on Wednesday, November 25, for the remainder of the semester. Final exams for all fall 2020 semester classes will be administered remotely beginning after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Individual and Community Health Protocol 

As Barton continues to respond proactively to the health and safety of our campus community, the following initiatives will be among a number of elevated efforts put into place for this fall semester —

  • It is important that all faculty, staff, and students minimize potential for virus exposure before entering into the campus environment.
  • Essential items such as a mask and thermometer will be distributed to each member of the campus community to support self-monitoring and selfcare.
  • Faculty, staff, and students are expected to self-monitor daily and refrain from interaction should they become ill, as well as, report potential COVID-like systems to Barton healthcare professionals.
  • The use of masks will be required in certain conditions with emphasis given to the size and compact nature of meetings, classrooms, and gatherings. When identified as a masked event, all members of the campus community are expected to comply to support personal and community welfare. The first two weeks of school will be a high priority use time for masks to help minimize any potential virus spread.
  • Campus healthcare professionals will take the lead on any testing and quarantine protocol deemed necessary. Should positive tests occur, individuals will be quarantined in separate housing, and appropriate tracing and self-isolation/monitoring will be maintained. The Dean of Student Life, in concert with the Provost’s Office, and campus healthcare professionals will take the lead on tracing responsibilities.
  • Focused health and safety initiatives will be promoted through the Student Health Center. Basic health standards including washing hands, covering coughs, not shaking hands, and not touching one’s face will be considered as part of Barton’s community health standard. (Placing your hand over your heart will stand as the campus customary greeting.)
  • Accommodations for special circumstances and COVID health concerns will be reviewed and addressed by campus healthcare professionals in concert with the respective senior staff leader and supervisor.
  • Campus-wide training will be held to further educate our campus community about individual and shared healthcare responsibilities.

Social Distancing Standards

  • Classroom occupancy will be limited to account for social distancing. Alternative classrooms have been identified to support increased capacity.
  • Events and meetings will be adjusted to support campus well-being. Programs leaders will provide guidance regarding nuanced offerings, limited capacity, and social distancing requirements. An institutional event calendar will also be provided online for all major events and will detail event wellness adjustments and social distancing instructions.
  • Food Service through the campus partner AVI will accommodate social distancing and food services best practice. Pick-up food items and attendant served meals will replace self-serve options to ensure best practices. Disposable utensils will replace silverware and china.
  • Residence Halls will remain double occupancy with roommates conferring to ensure mutual health and wellness.
  • Campus activities (social, educational, cultural, and educational) will continue as able through social distancing means. Student and faculty are equally encouraged to practice social distancing in outside social and community settings.
  • Athletics will provide specific guidance per team to ensure safety and minimize risks.

Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Facilities Procedures

  • Classroom cleaning and disinfecting will be increased in accordance with the use of the space.
  • Accelerated cleaning protocols will be put into place for common, high traffic areas, increasing the number of times each day these areas are cleaned, giving special attention to the high use periods.
  • Residence Hall bathroom cleaning will be doubled, providing focus on high-touch areas. Additional cleaning and disinfecting supplies will be available for student use as desired.
  • Automatic door openers or foot pulls will be installed in high traffic areas.

As new information and best practices are updated, so too will the guidelines for campus success be refreshed to support students, employees, and guests.

Respectfully,

Douglas N. Searcy, Ph.D.                                                                                                                                                                President

 

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