The following message was sent to the Randolph community on Nov. 11, 2020.
Dear Randolph community,
I would like to thank each of you for your patience in the past weeks as our COVID-19 Task Force has grappled with the decision of whether to reopen campus for the spring semester. Balancing the difficulties, such as obtaining testing and creating suitable quarantine space, with the desire and need to provide an on-campus experience was challenging, to say the least.
I am pleased to let our community know that we have made the decision to reopen our campus for the spring semester. As our previous survey indicated, we know that not all of our student body wants to resume on-campus learning. In order to protect our community and allow our students to feel comfortable in their learning environment, we have decided to allow students to choose whether they reside on campus or stay with online learning off campus. Classes for the spring will be a mix of online, hybrid, and in-person; those who choose to remain off campus will be allowed to take all courses online.
Because we wanted to make our announcement as early as possible, we do not have all the details of our reopening finalized. Please be patient as we work out the details. We will be sending more information in the coming weeks as it relates to students, faculty, and staff individually, including answers to your questions regarding topics such as room assignments, dining, classes, and returning to work. Students, be on the lookout for a communication that will arrive via email next week providing details about housing. A form will be included that will allow us to gather data about how many students intend to live on campus. Your answers to these questions will be very important to our planning process.
Our ability to retain an on-campus experience will lie heavily with our community and its adherence to behaviors known to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in group environments such as ours. This means we will have strict guidelines on behavior and activities, including face covering and social distancing requirements. Obviously, on-campus living and learning cannot operate as they were pre-pandemic, and it will be vital for members of our community to do their part to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on our campus.
We were able to make this decision partly because we have been assured there will be affordable asymptomatic testing available to us and because our local hospital system is adequately managing the pandemic at this point. Should these factors change in the future, however, we could be forced to revisit our decision. It is my hope and desire that this will not become necessary.
On behalf of the COVID-19 Task Force, I want to thank you for your patience and understanding over the past weeks and months and for your cooperation and flexibility in the coming semester. The safety and well-being of our community is our highest priority, and every decision we make is based on that commitment and our desire to provide the best possible educational experience to our students. I look forward to welcoming you back behind the Red Brick Wall.
Bradley W. Bateman