Randolph College announced plans on May 29 to alter its fall academic calendar in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The College will begin classes Aug. 24 instead of Aug. 31, and students will leave campus for the semester at Thanksgiving break. In addition, exams will be held online following Thanksgiving.
“As you know, our COVID-19 Task Force has been planning and deliberating the best course of action for Randolph for many weeks and months now,” President Bradley W. Bateman wrote in an email to community members. “The full Randolph experience involves being together behind the Red Brick Wall. This is reflected in the fact that while our students gave our faculty high marks for their work moving to online education this spring, they have communicated to us very clearly that they prefer to learn on campus.”
Randolph made the decision to alter its fall academic calendar in order to minimize the highest predicted risk times for both COVID-19 and flu seasons, which will overlap. Under this new plan, classes will begin on Aug. 24, which is one week earlier than originally scheduled. The last day before Thanksgiving break will be Nov. 20. Because students will leave for Thanksgiving break earlier, there will not be a fall break. Students will return home for the semester on Nov. 20. In addition, finals will be held online following the Thanksgiving break
“This schedule allows us to conduct the majority of classes on campus and eliminates the risks associated with students traveling away from campus and returning shortly after, potentially bringing the coronavirus back with them. It also allows us to avoid having students on campus during what many expect will be a high-risk time in terms of both COVID-19 and the flu,” Bateman said.
The fall semester schedule will change as follows:
Aug. 20: New student move-in
Aug. 24: Classes begin
Nov. 20: Last day of classes before Thanksgiving break. Students return home for the semester
Nov. 21-29: Thanksgiving break
After Thanksgiving: online exams
There are many details that are still being worked out, including when SUPER and STAR students will arrive on campus, as well as dates for international student arrival. Randolph will provide more information about those dates in the coming weeks. In addition, the College is waiting for more information at the conference level before making an athletics decision.
“The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff is our highest priority, and every decision we make is based on that commitment,” Bateman said. “We have followed a deliberate approach in developing our plans for the new academic year and are relying on the best health and safety guidance available to us at this time. That guidance does change rapidly, however, and the course of the pandemic is unpredictable at best. Therefore, all of us must realize that our plans must remain flexible and adaptable as we move forward. I assure you that we will always put our community’s health first.”
More information on the College’s COVID-19 response and plans can be found at www.randolphcollege.edu/COVID19.
In the letter to students, faculty, and staff, Bateman outlined the numerous steps the College will be taking to ensure the health and safety of its campus community members. These included:
Enhanced cleaning protocols
Safe physical distancing rules
Per the Governor’s orders, as of today, May 29, masks are required on campus
Food service changes
Classroom set-up changes to comply with recommended guidelines
Increased presence of hand sanitizer on campus
Changes to events and programs that require audiences and other large gatherings
Protocols for quarantining should students, faculty, or staff test positive for COVID-19
“These are extraordinary times for all of us as we try to return to some sense of normalcy. If we have learned anything from the past few months, it is the need to stay flexible and adaptable as the pandemic evolves and changes,” Bateman said.
Randolph will continue to monitor and follow current guidelines and guidance regarding COVID-19 and adjust plans as needed.
“I am confident in our community’s commitment to providing the best possible educational experience for our students, and I believe we are prepared to handle whatever challenges await us in the fall,” Bateman said. “I look forward to welcoming everyone back home in August.”