Dear ENC Community:
With gratitude to the many individuals and teams who have been researching, planning, and thinking creatively over the last several weeks, I am pleased to provide this update about our approach to the coming academic year. In the midst of so much change, two commitments have remained changeless throughout our planning: to deliver on our promised Christ-centered educational mission to our students, and to do so in a way that maximizes the health and safety of our entire community.
These plans will continue to be refined over the summer as we work through details and receive ongoing guidance from local, state, and federal public health officials. We will make course corrections as necessary. However, the overall framework of the coming year is now sufficiently in place to provide you with this update about how we currently intend to reopen campus and resume in-person and online instruction. I hope you will find this information to be helpful in your own planning for the coming year.
Several adjustments have been made to the academic calendar in order to make it possible for residential students to complete their studies with minimal need to travel back and forth from home:
- The first day of on-campus classes has been moved earlier to Thursday, August 27. Residential students will be receiving information about a move-in process that will be carefully scheduled and phased with assigned move-in times.
- This earlier start date plus the elimination of mid-semester breaks and days off (e.g. Labor Day) will allow us to conclude all on-campus instruction on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Students will be able to return home for the holiday break prior to Thanksgiving.
- Final exams and assignments for the fall semester will be conducted remotely during the week after Thanksgiving, and the fall semester will conclude on Friday, December 4.
- Spring semester will not start until Monday, February 1, thereby allowing for an extended mid-year break. During this extended break, a number of online courses will be offered to assist students who may want or need to pick up an additional course. These courses will begin on Monday, January 4.
- Spring break and a few other days off in the spring semester have also been eliminated for this year. These changes will allow spring semester to conclude on Friday, May 14, with commencement now scheduled for Saturday, May 15.
- The academic calendar for adult and graduate courses remain unchanged, with the fall semester starting on August 17.
In order to maximize safety and flexibility for our students, we are enhancing course delivery in the following ways:
- With very limited exceptions in some lab courses, all courses that are taught face-to-face will also be available online. This dual track allows students to choose whether to return to campus in the fall or to continue their studies at home if desired. Adult and graduate students will also be able to choose whether to take classes in person or online.
- Most online course delivery will be accomplished through simultaneous videoconferencing, although some courses will be offered asynchronously.
- The online delivery of courses will also allow us to maintain physical distancing in classrooms, and to ensure that students who may become ill or quarantined are able to continue their studies.
- In that event that we need to do a mid-semester pivot to fully online course delivery, we will be prepared to do so quickly and seamlessly.
- The daily course schedule is being modified to provide longer and fewer transition periods between classes. Students can expect to receive their adjusted daily schedule by August 1.
Health and safety
As we look forward to the start of the fall semester, student and employee safety is of paramount importance. We are designing a reopening plan that complies fully with all guidance from the Centers of Disease Control, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ phased reopening plan, and best practices across higher education. As the start of the semester approaches, you will receive detailed information about safety policies and protocols, required trainings, and space utilization guidelines including:
- Pre-arrival screenings, daily monitoring, possible testing, and related student support
- Best practices for sanitation, disinfection and personal hygiene
- Requirements for mask-wearing and maintaining physical distancing
- Restructured physical spaces to maintain appropriate physical distancing
- Re-envisioned large group gatherings that will maintain health and distance standards
- Revised utilization of residence halls, dining facilities, office, and public spaces to promote community health.
Campus life will undoubtedly look different in this unusual time, but we are committed to your safety, to the quality of your academic experience, and to the experience of community life that makes ENC so unique.
We anticipate that all of our men’s and women’s athletic teams will be competing in the coming year, although with enhanced NCAA protocols and policies to ensure the safety of athletes, staff, officials, and spectators.
We will continue to provide updates throughout the summer, and invite you to check our website regularly: https://enc.edu/covid-19-information/. You may also email any specific questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again to our faculty and staff who are working so diligently on all these preparations so that we may provide a safe, healthy, transformative academic year for our students and our entire community.
Jack Connell, Ed.D, D.Min.
Eastern Nazarene College