ASHLAND — Ashland University announced Monday its plans for an on-campus fall semester, including a list of precautions and modifications to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Classes will begin as scheduled on Aug. 31, though students will move into their residence halls on a staggered schedule to minimize foot traffic and congestion.
Courses will continue on campus – many in a face-to-face and virtual hybrid – until Thanksgiving, when the students will return home and complete the last few weeks of instruction and exams online.
Students are strongly encouraged to limit travel off campus until Thanksgiving, including over the Labor Day weekend and through Fall Break, as increased travel elevates the risk of the spread of C-19. .
“We are going to do everything we can to make this semester a great experience,” said AU President Carlos Campo, as he officially launched the “Stronger Together, Safer Together” campaign. He also noted that students, faculty and staff will be required to wear face masks when outside of personal work and living spaces and that on-campus dining will largely be offered on a to-go basis. In addition, campus common areas will be adapted for physical distancing and the entire campus community is urged to self-monitor for symptoms of the virus.
Fall sports are awaiting guidance from the NCAA.
Campo said he realizes that campus life will be different this fall and will require some sacrifices if it is to be successful. But, he added, “earlier this year we learned that circumstances can change quickly due to the presence and threat of the COVID-19 virus. Until there is a vaccine, we must all work to mitigate the threat by following AU campus protocols and using the health and safety guidelines provided by the CDC, Ashland County Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health.”
Even with the new guidelines, Campo said, he looks forward to AU coming together this fall as a campus community and having the shared experiences that make the university unique and special to all who are a part of it